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Working to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Employees should be aware that they can seek workers’ comp benefits if they develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of their job.

Carpal Tunnel

In the United States, workers are injured at their workplace every day. While most injuries occur suddenly and are caused by accidents, some injuries develop over a period of time as a result of the work that the employee performs. Occupational diseases and repetitive injuries are common work-related conditions that develop over a period of time.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Those who work in an office environment may not think they are susceptible to a workplace injury. However, just because an employee is not exposed to hazardous conditions routinely, this does not mean that the employee can never be injured at the workplace. Even by performing low risk tasks repeatedly, one may expose themselves to certain types of injuries, which can be painful and debilitating. These are known as repetitive motion injuries, and the most common among them is carpal tunnel syndrome. Employers can adopt measures to prevent this serious and crippling medical condition.

According to the National Institute of Health, workers who perform repetitive tasks, such as working on an assembly line or typing, are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, it has been reported that women are three times more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome compared to men, owing to physiological differences.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that results when a vital nerve running through the wrist becomes compressed because of swelling in the surrounding ligaments. As the condition advances, the patient tends to experience pain throughout the hand and arm. If the condition is not treated in a timely manner, it can become worse and lead to disability. The disabling condition can cause vital hand muscles to deteriorate. The most common treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is medication, and in severe cases, surgery. Although surgery is often successful, it is not always the best option as it may prevent the employee from going back to work.

Protecting Workers From Repetitive Motion Injuries

Missouri workers’ compensation lawyers feel that employers can take measures to protect their workers from repetitive motion injuries. For example, for employees working in an office, employers can install workstations and desks that are specifically designed to prevent repetitive motion injuries. In factory settings, managers can ensure that workers working on an assembly line get adequate and timely breaks, or can switch duties to prevent injuries. Employers should train their workers and teach them some strengthening and stretching exercises to manage the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

It is important for employees to be aware that they can seek benefits under the workers’ compensation system if they develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of the job activities they perform. However, in some cases, it may not be easy to prove that the condition is indeed a result of the working environment or the activities that the worker performs. In such cases, the legal assistance of an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation attorney will be vital in obtaining the benefits. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.
Updated: December 3, 2014