Repetitive Strain Injuries on the Water

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), mainly caused by manual labor, using modern tech devices and office work, is a major concern for those working on the water. RSI is sometimes referred to as repetitive stress, strain, or motion injury. Repetitive motion maritime injuries is a subject touched on our website.

Repetitive movements can often develop into RSI for oil rig workers, seamen, and longshoremen as many of their day-to-day activities are indeed repetitive. Whether the RSI results in long-term or short-term damage, you have rights to compensation if you develop RSI, and consulting with a maritime attorney about federal maritime laws is important in this regard.

If You are Diagnosed with a Repetitive Strain Injury, What Should You Do?

Regardless of how the RSI was caused (doesn’t matter if it was caused by negligence or not), addressing the injury is your first-step in correcting the course and avoiding future injury or worsening of what is already an issue. Nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments can all be affected by repetitive actions, which you should notice if you suffer from pain, a tingling sensation, swelling, numbness, restricted movement or loss of strength, or even redness in the area of your injury. More general symptoms are throbbing or pulsating sensations in the affected area and other pains you may be experiencing around body parts repetitively used during work activities.

What Are Common Types of Repetitive Strain Injuries?

  • Tennis Elbow
  • Rotator Cuff Syndrome;
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome;
  • Tenosynovitis;
  • Bursitis; and more.

What are Common Risks that Increase Your Chances of Suffering a Repetitive Strain Injury?

RSI injuries can occur in both onshore and offshore types of work settings.

  • Vibrating equipment;
  • Working in cold temperatures;
  • Holding the same posture for prolonged periods of time;
  • Heavy lifting injuries ;
  • Overusing a group of muscles or particular muscle;
  • Poor posture;
  • Forceful activities;
  • Working in a space that in non-ergonomically designed;
  • Fatigue; and
  • Direct pressure to particular areas.

While there are quite a bit of potential causes, an often overlooked aggravation of RSI is increased psychological stress, which has been shown to worsen RSI. Shipowners should help their employees by putting into place preventative measures to protect against RSI. Taking regular breaks from repetitive tasks can help, as can standing up and stretching. Even eating healthier and getting regular exercise are good preventative measures you can take on your own.

That being said, your employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all measure are taken to help prevent against RSI, and if they do not it may be cause for negligence under maritime law. Negligence may include things such as not allowing proper breaks, working too many hours while performing repetitive actions, as well as insufficient safety measures and training. The only way to know for sure is to contact an admiralty attorney who can properly evaluate your maritime case.

What Can I Do If I Suffer a Repetitive Strain Injury on a Boat?

Don’t be worried about having to take time off of work in order to correct potential life-long issues. If you see a doctor who is worried you may have or are starting to develop RSI while on a vessel as a seaman, you may be entitled to maintenance and cure under the maritime law, including living expenses while you’re out of work addressing your medical. Contact O’Bryan Law for a free legal consultation to get more information about your rights and how you can be compensated under the law for your Repetitive Strain Injury.