Repetitive Strain Injury costs business £300m in lost working hours

Two out of three employees suffer from work-related repetitive strain injury (RSI), costing businesses more than £300m in lost working hours, a study has found.

Research commissioned by computer giant Microsoft discovered that 68% of respondents were suffering or had suffered from back, wrist, hand or shoulder pain, key indicators of RSI.

Cases have soared by 30% in the past 12 months, and HR directors should be worried about additional costs for temporary staff, lost man-hours and wasted time.

“I’m surprised by the number of HR people who are unaware of the costs on companies,” a Microsoft spokeswoman told Personnel Today.

“Employers and HR managers both need to understand it’s a preventable problem that’s their responsibility, and if they haven’t fulfilled obligations, they could be in trouble.”

Three out of four HR managers polled were unaware of the risk of RSI, and the majority did nothing when employees reported problems.

Mobile working played a major role in many cases of RSI, with the report finding millions of hours lost to an injury known as “Blackberry Thumb”.

Bronwyn Clifford, a chartered occupational health physiotherapist, said: “Providing equipment is just not enough. Training and the ability to take breaks and control where people work are all important to stopping problems from ever occurring.”

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