RSI Awareness Day

What is RSI Awareness Day?


Twelve years ago a few individual workers, all knowing firsthand the debilitating effects Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) or Muculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) can have on work and life outside of work, took it upon themselves to ignite a movement to raise awareness of these injuries, their causes, solutions and the need for fair worker compensation. This then resulted in International RSI Awareness Day, held annually the last day of February, the only non-repetitive day on the calendar. Communities and workers hold events to bring awareness to this important workplace issue.

RSI Awareness

RSI or MSD – What Are They?


These are umbrella terms used to describe a collection of injuries that affect the muscles, nerves, ligaments, blood vessels and tendons (soft tissue). Tendinitis, tenosynovitis, muscle strain, low-back injury and carpal tunnel syndrome are some common examples. Common symptoms include aches, pains, burning, tingling, swelling and loss of joint movement and strength in the affected area(s).


These symptoms can progress into chronic and crippling disorders which often no amount of physiotherapy or surgery can correct.


Follow our RSI Awareness Day updates at #RSIDay and find us on Twitter @PSHSAca.

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Why Is Awareness and Prevention Important?


Occupational injuries to muscles, nerves and tendons (soft tissue) may not be life-ending, but they can certainly be life-altering. They can change everything. They can rob workers of their mobility and their dignity.


Workers are often left unable to care for themselves or those they love. This is the hard reality for many. Year after year work-related repetitive strain injuries (RSI), also commonly known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), account for more than 40 per cent of lost-time injuries (LTI) allowed by Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) — the single largest class of compensation claims. Many more cases of RSI though are never reported.


According to Statistics Canada, 2.3 million Canadian adults annually experience a MSD serious enough to limit their normal activities; and the majority of these injuries are caused by work-related activity. Beyond the social, emotional and economic costs to affected individuals are the economic costs to us all, which add up to $26 billion dollars annually. Much of this paid, not by employers who operate unsafe workplaces, but by Canadian taxpayers through the health care system and income assistance to workers with these injuries and their families.


These statistics and the painful experiences behind them demand solutions.

Causes of RSI or MSD


A variety of factors can play a role in the development of RSI or MSD:


  • Repetition
  • Insufficient recovery time
  • Forceful movements
  • Awkward or fixed postures
  • Cold temperatures
  • Contact stress
  • Pace of work
  • Psychosocial stress
  • Vibration


Effective Solutions


The majority of RSI or MSD are preventable. Some effective steps to take include:


  • Early reporting of symptoms and hazards to supervisors and joint health and safety committee (JHSC) members.
  • Suggestions to improve working conditions to supervisors and JHSC members; especially re-designing the wokpalce to reduce risk factors to RSI/MSD
  • Implementation of ergonomic prevention solutions
  • Worker involvement in suggestions and implementation
  • Timely reporting to the WSIB of work-related MSD
  • Quality training to address these issues and more.

PSHSA Training and Resources


The following are just a few of the many resources available to focus on for RSI Awareness Day and every day. PSHSA also offer ergonomics training, audits and assessments to help you identify risk factors within your organization. Learn more about how a Health & Safety consultant can help you determine the level of risk present in a job and provide suggestions to minimize the risk of injury.


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