I Worked on an Assembly Line and Now I Suffer From RSI
If you have ever worked on an assembly line you will know how hectic the working day is, especially when your boss is asking for higher targets because they have just laid off five other members of staff. The first assembly line was produced in 1901 by Ransom E. Olds in order for him to quadruple the output of goods his factory was producing. This was then perfected by Henry Ford (founder of Ford/GM motors) shortly after by introducing the conveyor belt reducing his production times from 36 hours to 90 minutes.
These kinds of figures would leave anyone scratching their heads as to why people on production lines still work so hard and fast that they develop RSI. The answer is fairly simple and very easy to ignore for employers: targets. As we have already touched upon, employers are under increasing pressure from consumers to supply products whilst trying to maintain/retain good workers and their workloads. Recently this has become even more of a challenge for employers due to the economic state of affairs. Payroll has been reduced and targets have been increased to try and tackle the economic decline of the recession. The question is though, should employees be the ones left to suffer as a result?
Here at Roberts Jackson Solicitors we firmly believe that this shouldn’t be the case. Employee’s workloads should be monitored on a daily basis and people using fast, repetitive motions in order to complete a task should be given regular breaks. The key point to pick up on for employees is the “fast” element of the task at hand. Repetitive actions usually need to be performed at high speeds in order to develop RSI related to that task. However there are various forms of RSI and numerous areas of the body it can affect.
The following conditions are all classed as RSI’s and can develop through manual repetitive work such as assembly lines:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Golfers Elbow (medial epicondylitis)
- Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
- Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis)
All of these conditions are recognised globally by health professionals and employees could be eligible to compensation if they develop due to their job. Employers using assembly lines are urged to take measures to prevent this such as regular health and safety checks, reducing high/unrealistic targets, varying tasks for staff on a day to day basis or simply provide more breaks to staff working at a high intensity.
People working on assembly lines are advised to request for these measures to be taken and all incidents relating to your job should be logged in an accident book along with a trip to your GP for a formal diagnosis. This way you are giving your employer ample opportunity to make adjustments or monitor your condition to ensure no further damage is done. RSI can be non-specific – there is often no diagnosis but the employee suffers from aches and pains of the upper limbs caused through work. These people are also eligible to bring claims.
If you are still unsatisfied that your employer hasn’t taken steps to prevent the injury then we encourage you to pick up the phone to Roberts Jackson Solicitors for free legal advice and to see if you are eligible to make a claim Freephone: 0800 001 4496.