Forty-five per cent of Irish workers have experienced repetitive strain injury (RSI) or RSI-type pain while working, according to a new survey.
The survey by IrishJobs.ie, Enable Ireland and Assistive Technology Training specialists asked more than 1,000 employees about how comfortable they were as they work.
It looked at how RSI affected workers, which is a condition caused by cumulative damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and joints due to repetitive movements. Symptoms include pain, weakness and loss of feeling.
The survey said workers now typically spend from two to more than six hours seated at work, typing at the computer or on the phone. Of the 45pc who have experienced RSI symptoms, the back was the most affected area, followed by the neck, wrist and hand. Arms and shoulders were also seen as problem areas.
More than half of survey respondents said they only suffered from mild discomfort, but 44pc said it was painful enough for them to be aware of it. Four per cent described their RSI symptoms as “extremely painful.”
One in five took time off work with RSI or RSI-related pain and 46pc of those took a morning or an afternoon off.
Sixty-eight per cent of workers knew about ergonomics, which is the consideration the physical and psychological capabilities and limits of a worker as they interact with equipment at the workplace.
“Workers in all kinds of jobs are spending more and more time at the computer and this requires some simple measures to ensure physical well-being,” said Valerie Sorohan of IrishJobs.ie.
“The good news is that preventing and addressing repetitive strain injury is straightforward,” she said.
Siobhan Long of Enable Ireland said solutions for RIS can include the provision of an alternative keyboard or mouse or the use of a monitor stand and foot rest. Employees could also get a work station assessment to help deal with any pain or discomfort.