|International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day (RSI Day)
On February 28, we mark the International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day (RSI Day). Injured workers and labour activists founded RSI Day as an annual event to raise awareness and increase protection against these serious, and potentially disabling, injuries which are often incurred on the job.
RSIs are the most common type of workplace injury. Equally concerning is that workers frequently write off their aches and pains as “normal”, unaware that they may be caused by poorly designed equipment or workspaces, repetitive motions or working in a fixed position for long periods of time. Injuries often begin with discomfort but can quickly escalate and sometimes result in permanent pain. While we may acquire these injuries at work we do not leave them there. The impact of RSIs can negatively impact every area of our lives, turning routine activities into excruciating chores. It is for this reason I want to encourage every member to consider your health and safety at all times.
Our union has been active and successful in bargaining ergonomic language into collective agreements including: joint workplace ergonomic committees, ergonomic representatives, union input into workstation and machinery design, accommodation procedures for injured workers, and ergonomic awareness training for all workers. While environmental assessment, applied ergonomics, education and training can all help reduce the risk of injury, Unifor will continue to call on all provinces and territories to expand mandatory ergonomic regulations. All governments must adopt strong workplace regulations, backed by robust enforcement, to protect workers from painful, costly and unnecessary injuries.
On RSI Day and on every day, I encourage all members to take a moment to examine their workspace to identify hazards that could lead to RSIs and to bring any concerns to your local health and safety representatives. You can find additional information on RSIs along with a series of fact sheets on how to avoid injury at www.unifor.org/rsi. Work safe and stay healthy.