Repetitive strain injuries (RSI's) like carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) are costing consumers, private business and insurance companies more than $ 100 billion in lost revenue each year.
According to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, “Musculoskeletal disorders are the country's most costly category of workplace injuries and illnesses.” In addition to spending $ 20 billion annually on workers' compensation costs due to RSIs (Like Carpal tunnel syndrome), the US spends another $ 100 billion on lost productivity, employee turnover, and other indirect expenses.
The goal of every private business and insurance company should be to cut costs, and this goal can only be met when carpal tunnel syndrome and other “tunnel syndrome” disorders are addressed in a scope of “prevention” rather than after the fact and have to address the injury through “rehabilitation” methods. Rehabilitation costs to businesses and insurance companies are much greater than costs associated with prevention, and has an even higher toll on the individual afflicted with the disorder (carpal tunnel) in terms of both psychological and physical damages.
The key to cutting costs associated with CTS and RSI's is “prevention”, which can be achieved through a variety of methods. By implementing the methods listed below, overall costs can be reduced dramatically and optimum health and productivity of the individual can be maintained.
Job Rotation: Individuals that rotate tasks, including the amount of force they utilize for each task and the amount of time each task is performed reveals a great reduction in the level of carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries.
Stretch / Exercise Breaks: Taking a short break every 30-45 minutes is key to decreasing the onset of repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. The most important prevention element on this list is to perform appropriate exercises and stretches to improve circulation and keep the muscles in tune and balanced. (For a good list of stretches and exercises, speak to the employee health director or to a certified therapist)
Workstation: Operating in the correct environment is “key” to reducing the possibility of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Proper seating, a good keyboard, computer screen, mouse, desk set-up, positioning, etc. is critical to reducing the amount of strain experienced on a daily basis.
Tools: When using tools for assembly and construction, you must be sure that they are properly designed to fit you, not someone else.
To save as much money as possible for everyone involved, it is wise to implement as many of the elements listed above. By addressing all angles conceivable, the chances of an injury reduce dramatically and workers stay healthy. When workers are healthy, productivity and output increase, reducing healthcare costs and increasing the bottom line for all.