When most think of injuries in the workplace, they think of traumatic sudden injuries, like a fall from an elevated surface, being hit by or run over with heavy machinery and more. However, repetitive motion injuries also contribute to many workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims across Pennsylvania.
What are repetitive motion injuries?
Repetitive motion injuries are those that occur over time, due to consistent actions like:
- Moving products on an assembly line
- Reaching overhead
- Bending over to pick up heavy objects
- Standing for long periods of time on hard surfaces
- Typing on a keyboard
Such injuries may surface very gradually. Common injuries include serious shoulder or back injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome. When your injury interferes with your ability to do the key components of your job, you need to take action to get the recovery period you need.
The need for a recovery period
Repetitive motion injuries can only become further aggravated without taking time off to recover. Continuing through the pain can lead to permanent damage and in some carpal tunnel cases, the loss of functionality in your hand or wrist.
Common recovery measures can include occupational therapy, rest, the use of a brace, applying cold or heat to the injury and more. In some cases, working out an ergonomic treatment option with your employer, such as a more accommodating chair or keyboard, can lead to your ability to return to your job duties sooner.
Proving your injury occurred on the job
Employers may be reluctant to acknowledge your injury occurred in the workplace. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome can be the painful result of constantly moving your hands, wrists or fingers. Your employer may require proof that your injury occurred due to your job duties, rather than from playing an instrument or engaging in another activity off the clock.
A critical element to accessing the benefits you need is proving the connection between your injury and your workplace duties. Your doctor or another medical expert may attest to the connection between your task of picking up heavy objects and your back injury. When your employer refutes this claim with their own medical professional, you may need to seek professional legal help.