New, improved and more ergonomic personal data terminals, may help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is most commonly associated with repetitive stress injury (RSI). It is often work related and a result of continuous and repetitive motion of a group of muscles. In some cases, it is caused by an acute trauma, which causes the carpal tunnel to become compressed.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
According to WebMd it is “caused by pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of the arm, goes through a passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in the hand. The median controls the movement and feeling of your thumb, and also the movement of all your fingers except your pinky.” When the carpal tunnel becomes compressed, a worker will be unable to use the hand and fingers effectively and will experience pain and discomfort. In the worst case scenario, this pain spreads throughout the entire arm.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the Workplace
The majority of workers dealing with CTS try to push through the work day in hope that the pain will get better, or go away completely once they return home. However, this is far from the truth. The pain caused by CTS can only get worse as the day goes by. What is worse, it can spread throughout the entire length of the arm, and the pain can reach such levels that it can deprive a person of a sound night’s sleep.
Workers whose job requires them to carry a hand-held inventory scanner throughout the day are often susceptible to developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This usually includes people working in warehouses and large retail environments. They use devices called personal data terminals to keep track of inventory and orders. These devices can be really heavy, referred to as a “brick on a stick”, and rightly so. According to a news article published in Wall Street Journal, some companies, in a joint effort, have started developing new, improved and more ergonomic personal data terminals. The idea behind it is to keep workers’ compensation claims at a minimum, but also provide better working conditions for their employees.
There are various devices that are being considered to replace the heavy devices. Of the more creative and interesting ideas is placing the scanner in a ring, and, when this ring is passed over a barcode, it will scan the product. Furthermore, smartphones are being used for virtually everything nowadays, and it should come to no surprise that a mobile app is being developed which can be used to scan products.
Contact a St. Louis Workers Comp Lawyer
If you have developed carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of the work that you do, you shouldn’t hesitate to report it to your employer. You shouldn’t wait for the pain to disappear on its own, because it will not.