Repetitive Strain Injury And Supermarket WorkersDecember 4th, 2012 | Posted by in Uncategorized
By Joe Smith
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) involves damage to nerves, tendons, ligaments and muscles as a result of the overuse of limbs, usually in the upper body. For this reason, injuries of this kind are also referred to as work related upper limb disorders (WRULDS). Among supermarket workers, RSI often result from repetitive hand movements that strain the wrists and fingers, causing damage over a period of time. Most tasks that supermarket staff engage in are repetitive, such as till checkout work, shelf stacking and cutting up fresh produce. It is the responsibility of supermarket management to risk assess such tasks, and adapt working conditions accordingly. If they fail to do they will be liable to pay compensation if an employee develops RSI.
Supermarkets Must Assess Ergonomic Factors To Prevent RSI
In a well-publicised case in 2008, a Co-op supermarket checkout worker developed Tenosynovitis, a repetitive strain condition caused by overstretching the tendons in her wrist, as she reached for the newly-installed chip and pin machines in the store where she worked. At 4ft 9in, she had to reach an unacceptably long way to carry out a card transaction, and was successfully able to claim compensation for her condition. As is common with RSI cases, her employers had failed to properly risk assess the ergonomics of her workstation, or take into account her individual physical characteristics. They were in breach of health and safety guidelines by failing to position the machine in the right position to suit her stature, and she later received a ‘significant financial settlement’ from the supermarket group.
Symptoms Of Repetitive Strain Injury Among Supermarket Workers
Repetitive strain injuries can cause intense pain, and may be symptomatic of permanent damage done to nerves and soft tissues in the upper body. Pain and tingling will often radiate down the forearm to the hands and fingers, reducing a person’s strength of grip, mobility and coordination. Other contributory factors may include working in cold temperatures, poor posture, and working for excessive periods of time without taking sufficient breaks. The employer may be ultimately responsible for creating working conditions of this kind. The severity of RSI should not be underestimated as it can lead to permanent disability, and a person may be left unable to work due to their condition. If the latter was the fault of a previous employer it is therefore only natural that a person will be entitled to compensation.
Solicitors Helping Supermarket Workers Claim Compensation For RSI
Bartletts Solicitors have lawyers with many years of combined experience in handling RSI claims on behalf of workers, including supermarket employees. If you have developed RSI as a result of your working conditions, contact our team today for free, confidential legal advice.
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Joe Smith is a senior personal injury solicitor who joined Bartletts 12 years ago. He manages our team of supermarket accident lawyers, and has successfully handled claims against all the major chains, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
Joe can advise whether you are a shopper who has been injured at a supermarket, or if you are an employee who has been injured in the course of your work. Contact Joe and our specialist personal injury solicitors today for free advice, or to get started making a claim.