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Repetitive strain injuries among scientists

It has been reported that many scientists are afraid to draw attention to their work-related injuries out of fear that it might hurt their career prospects, according to The Scientist Magazine. It is common for scientists to be engaging in repetitive motion actions when carrying out experiments in the lab. However, this risk for injury as well as the importance of prevention and the treatment of such injuries is often underestimated and even ignored by employers.

One scientist, it is reported, ended up being in constant pain in both arms after repetitive motion injuries. He was unable to even drive his car because of this injury, and attended physical therapy including activities such as yoga. Colleagues helped by taking over manual laboratory work. Although the steps that this scientist took helped to save his career and his health in the long term, many others hesitate to seek help until it's too late.

Workers' protections for repetitive strain injury

The good news is that workers should never be in fear of reporting their work-related repetitive strain injury to their employer. Employers have the duty to offer reasonable support for any injuries that are caused by the working environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) unfortunately does not offer specific protections for ergonomic related injuries; however, as an employer, you have the right to ask for a consultation with the OSHA without any risk to your job security.

If you are suffering from a repetitive stress injury that originated at work, it is important to speak with your employer about the actions you can take, as well as conduct additional research into your employee rights.

Source: The Scientist, "Arm and Wrist Injuries Teach Scientists to Accept Limits," accessed Nov. 08, 2017

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