Factory workers are vulnerable to a number of risks due to the physical nature of their jobs and the heavy machinery, chemicals and other hazards inherent to their work environment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15% of 2019’s nondeadly private industry workplace injuries and sicknesses occurred in the manufacturing sector.
One type of injury factory workers are susceptible to is repetitive strain injuries, or RSIs, which result from overuse and overstressing of parts of the body, which may arise from their assigned duties.
1. Repeating the same motions
This is a main cause of RSIs in factory workers, who often work in assembly lines where they must repeat a certain task. When an individual makes the same motion again and again, such as bending the wrist in a certain way when building a part time after time, it stresses the tissue. This may cause damage over time.
2. Continuously performing high-intensity labor
Lifting heavy items for hours on end without taking a break is an example of this. Doing heavy activities for long periods may overextend muscles and tendons.
3. Standing in a bad position for an extended period
Since factory employees do generally find themselves assigned to an assembly line, they often end up stuck in uncomfortable positions such as bending over or in a hunched stand for whole shifts. Even if the position is not inherently bad, maintaining the same posture and standing for too long may hurt the back and shoulders.
Signs of repetitive stress injuries include pain, tenderness, swelling, stiffness, numbness and loss of mobility or functionality. Those who sustain one as a result of work-related activities may have the right to workers’ compensation benefits.