An upper limb disorder (ULD) affects the fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders or neck. They are commonly called repetitive strain injuries (RSI), cumulative trauma disorder or occupational overuse syndrome.
ULDs encompass clinically defined disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, but also undefined conditions. ULDs include problems with the soft tissues, muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as the circulation and nerves. If you have a ULD you may experience pain, stiffness, cramp, swelling, numbness and tingling in the afflicted area.
Upper limb disorders are a very common workplace injury, and they are widespread across different industries. It’s not only people who work in physically demanding jobs like construction or nursing who can get an upper limb disorder. Those who work at desks with computers are also at risk.
There are seven risk factors which can cause a
- Doing repetitive movements.
- Uncomfortable working positions.
- Using a high level of force or working with heavy objects.
- Carrying out a task for an extended period of time.
- Poor working environment. Such as a badly lit room or working in uncomfortable temperatures.
- Poor organisation. Employees should be sure that they aren’t putting their workers at risk by giving them unreasonable task demands. Such as forcing their employees to finish a job very quickly due to poor time keeping at management level.
- Employee capability. Not everyone can do the same workload in the same time. Factors like body size, age and ability need to be taken into consideration when delegating tasks.
Employees may be more likely to suffer from a ULD if they are exposed to multiple risk factors.
It is not always possible to prevent
Upper limb disorders can be easily treated if the injury is caught in its early stages. An employer should not push you to keep working with an injury and should not expect you to work with the same productivity or in the same way as you did before you were injured.
Upper limb disorders can cause a lot of physical pain and suffering as well as causing time off work or unemployment. Employers should be held accountable for putting an employee at risk and causing a ULD, as well as not allowing their workers to fully recover from an injury.
Speak to a solicitor about making a claim.
If you have an upper limb disorder you think was caused or worsened by your work, we will be able to give you