People who work in manufacturing and industrial jobs in Southern California are just as at risk for repetitive stress injuries as they are for workplace accidents and illnesses. Cumulative trauma injuries can occur from long-term use, strain and stress of muscles in the affected areas, such as the hands, wrists and back. To better understand your rights as an injured worker, take some time to learn about California workers’ compensation and how it applies to repetitive stress injuries.
How Repetitive Stress Injuries Develop
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace repetitive stress injuries that involve the wrist, elbow and shoulder account for almost two-thirds of all reported occupational injuries. These injuries do not occur overnight. They also do not necessarily have to occur solely in connection with your current work environment. An old injury that you received treatment for in the past could become aggravated by new job duties.
For example, say you previously worked in an office and developed carpal tunnel syndrome. You received treatment for the condition and underwent surgery to restore the ease and comfort of use to your wrists. Now that you have been working in a factory for the last several months, your daily use of tools has aggravated your old injury, making it challenging for you to perform your job. In this case, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Do Not Ignore the Warning Signs
Detecting repetitive stress injuries in the beginning stages is often challenging. Many of the symptoms mimic the signs of regular muscle fatigue and strain. Many workers commonly ignore the early signs of repetitive stress injuries until they are beyond the point of full rehabilitation. Others also ignore the signs or fail to report the injury to the employer.
Report Your Injuries
You should pay close attention to any injuries and pain you experience from performing your job-related duties. Report any loss in flexibility, range of motion, muscle weakness and pain to your employer, and be sure to get medical treatment. Also, get an attorney to help you document the injury in your workers’ comp claim. The sooner you notice any physical issues linked to repetitive stress, the earlier you can get them diagnosed and treated.
Repetitive stress injuries are a great source of pain and discomfort for workers throughout California. These kinds of injuries can interfere with your ability to perform your job and affect your life in many other ways. Keep in mind that legal and procedural matters involving workplace-related injuries are often complicated. If you are dealing with a repetitive stress injury or the effects of a workplace accident, discuss your situation with a workers’ comp attorney to ensure that you receive all of the benefits to which are entitled.