Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Its Impact on Female WorkersFebruary 7, 2019
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common workplace injury that affects thousands of workers each year. While it may not be a life-threatening condition, it can cause numbness, weakness, tingling, and pain in the hand, making it difficult to carry out certain tasks.
A recent study found that the majority of workers who suffer from CTS are women. In fact, the number of women who reported cases of CTS was three times higher than men.
CTS is caused by the compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist within the carpal tunnel. Some of the most common work-related risk factors for CTS include repetitive tasks like typing, assembly line work, data entry, and other tasks that involve using the hand or wrists in an awkward position.
While CTS is a common condition, it is also underdiagnosed and underreported. As a result, the actual cost associated with treating the condition is likely even higher than the estimated cost, which is approximately $2 billion a year in the U.S.
The study, conducted by researchers from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), found that the following industries had the highest rates of CTS:
- Textile, fabric finishing, and coating mills
- Apparel accessories and other apparel manufacturing
- Animal slaughtering and processing
The occupations that had the highest rates of CTS included:
- Material moving
- Office and administrative support
Interventions That Can Help Prevent CTS
Researchers urge employers to implement ergonomic interventions that can help workers who are more susceptible to CTS. The following are examples of steps employers can take:
- Establish a rotating job schedule, which will allow employees to rotate between tasks that use different muscle groups, and that are below the recommended levels of hand activity and force.
- Encourage multiple breaks throughout the day. For each hour, provide a 9-minute break where employees can walk, stretch, or grab a snack.
- Provide handouts that highlight the importance of safety, and encourage workers to report any symptoms of CTS.
- Develop a clear set of procedures that employees can follow that address work equipment and procedure modifications.
- Create a medical surveillance program that will monitor employees’ health and identify effective prevention and medical management strategies for workers who may be suffering from CTS.
- Ensure that employee safety training programs address information about working height recommendations, and how adjustable stands can make a work space more ergonomically effective.
- Schedule regular training sessions that address the proper setup for standing platforms. For example, for light assembly, hands should be just below elbow height. If more force is needed, the work surface should be below elbow height.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Workers with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you have developed carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive tasks performed on the job, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will ensure that you receive the full financial benefits that you are entitled to, based on the type and severity of your injury. We will walk you through every step of the claims process and address all of your questions and concerns. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. We serve clients in Baltimore and across Maryland.