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Friday February 29, 2008 is International Repetitive Strain Injuries Awareness Day. Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) are the most common type of workplace injury in Canada. One in every 10 adults suffers from these injuries, which are also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). They include a number of disorders that affect muscles, tendons, nerves and joints.

It’s time for governments at every level and employers of every size to get serious about the prevention of RSI,” said Anthony Pizzino, CUPE’s director of health and safety. “But, we also need enforcement of health and safety laws and we need to step up the fight for regulations where they don’t exist.”    

Some provinces have regulations and federally, ergonomics have been incorporated in the Hazard Prevention Regulations – CUPE played a key role in lobbying for this federal ergonomics regulation. 

Women, especially those in office work and in health care, have high rates of RSI, leading to a lifetime of debilitating pain. RSI represent about a third of all occupational injuries, mostly affecting the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. If we add all the lower back injuries, RSI represent nearly 65 per cent of all occupational injuries.
RSI Day is an opportunity to promote injury prevention and raise awareness about the prevalence of RSI and their effects. To stop these injuries, we need to eliminate monotonous, repetitive and stressful work at fast speeds and poor work organization (unnecessary overtime, cutbacks and layoffs, substandard equipment, lack of worker control). 

The first RSI Awareness Day was February 29, 2000. That day was selected because it was the only non-repetitive day of the year, like this year’s RSI Day. The day is recognized on February 28 in non-leap years.

For more information on RSI go to our Repetitive Strain Injuries Fact Sheet.