Upper Limb Disorder


Work‐related upper limb disorders are also known as repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) or musculoskeletal disorders in the neck, shoulder, and upper limb. These injuries are caused by inflammation of tendons or surrounding tissue. Typical diseases include bursitis (housemaid’s knee: swelling on front of kneecap or hodgman’s shoulder: swelling on the shoulder from carrying loads of bricks), carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and trigger finger. Examples of high‐risk activities or processes include:

  • Repetitive tasks involving the fingers, hands, or whole arm (such as tight gripping, hammering, pushing, pulling, or twisting)
  • Working in an awkward posture
  • Tasks involving work for long periods of time with little or no variation, or without breaks or change in activity

Typical jobs at stake include computer employees, employees using pneumatic drills or other vibrating or percussive tools, scarifiers, compactors, and dumper drivers.

Preventive and Protective Measures

The following preventive or protective measures should be taken

  • Identify through risk assessment, the tasks / activities that could result in work‐related upper limb disorders, and involve affected employees or outside experts in the evaluation of the risks.
  • Take appropriate steps to eliminate or minimize the need for activities resulting in RSI.
  • Build flexibility into job design and encourage employees to take necessary rest breaks.
  • Involve specialists such as engineers and ergonomists in the various stages of work activity design and development to minimize strain (such as the selection of machinery, tools, equipment, and job rotation). A typical warning notice for RSI is included in.


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