Question: Could someone please send me the address or phone number of the RSI support group, I think that’s what they are called, in the UK. My problem being, I’ve recently been trained on a supermarket checkout and have developed a shoulder pain due to the repetitive movement involved, this doesn’t help my computer work, either, but they still keep putting me on it, and I’d like to know what the support group suggests do.
Answer 1: Pain at supermarket checkouts is usually not due to repetition itself, but to your posture while making those repetitive movements. Where is the pain? Pain on top of the shoulders and near the base of the neck is usually due to working with the shoulders raised – for instance, lifting large bags of dog food or potting mix across a laser scanner; or lifting heavy plastic bags (e.g. full of tinned goods) up and across a counter to give them to customers. The pain comes from holding these items up, as much as from lifting and lowering them. As an example of what you can do, if your laser scanner is dirty or old it will take longer for you to get a clean scan; in that case, key the product code and don’t rely on the scanner for heavy items.
Pain on the outer side of the shoulder is usually due to working with the arm extended to the side – for instance stretching out to reach the customer’s goods if you do not have a conveyor belt on your checkout, or if for any reason the design of the counter does not allow you to reach the goods without stretching (commonly, if the cash register is in the way, or if there is no suitable cut-out for your feet). Pain in the shoulder joint itself has lots of causes, many of which are not work related – ask your doctor. These problems are partly due to the design of the checkout, partly to your size in relation to the counter, and partly to your personal work methods. Can you ask your employer to bring in an ergonomist to help you work more comfortably? See the UK Ergonomics Society web page. There are lots of good solutions for supermarket checkouts, so don’t think it is insoluble!
Answer 2: The RSI association telephone number is 01895 431134.
Answer 3: Is there anyone who can give me some advice on setting up an RSI support group within my company? There is no proactive attempt at RSI prevention here, and none can be expected in the near future. If people knew there was somewhere they could come and discuss their symptoms and receive advice, I feel that would go some way to sorting out problems before they become chronic. Already, people within my department come to me for informal advice and support. I would like to extend this further. Does anyone have experience of doing something like this?
Answer 4: I just wanted to say what a very good idea this is. We seem to have no *retroactive* policy here, let alone proactive (I type that with feeling…), and I am sure groups can help.
Answer 5: The latest issue of The RSI Network has an article by Judy Doane on starting an RSI Support Group that might be of some use.
Issue 37 – Contents:
HOW TO START AN RSI SUPPORT GROUP, by Judy Doane
RSI AND MOUSE BITE ARE A PAIN IN THE NECK!, by Michael Roberts
ADDING A HEADREST TO A HIGH-BACKED ERGONOMIC CHAIR, by Michael Paulse
Workers Memorial Day
International RSI Awareness Day
Medscape Launches Medscape General Medicine
ABCNews.com Computer Mouse Traps
PCWeek RSI: More Stress for IT
How to Talk to Doctors
IAMAW CAL/OSHA Issues First Ergonomics Citations
Ergonomics Human Factors
Overcoming Repetitive Motion Injuries the Rossiter Way
LETTERS FROM THE NETWORK
RE: Prescreening for RSI Problems
Looking Forward to a Full Recovery
RSI SUPPORT GROUPS AND RESOURCES
NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTIONS, BACK ISSUE ARCHIVES, AND REUSE
Answer 6: A very interesting article. It has made me think about the issue in a much broader way. Thanks.