If an employee is injured in the workplace, he or she may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In Massachusetts, these benefits include compensation for lost income, medical services and rehabilitation.
Workers’ compensation benefits may be temporary or permanent. Temporary benefits may apply when the worker cannot work at all or is able to work, but it may be less due to his or her injury. Permanent benefits may apply when the person is unable to do any type of work because of the injury.
While it may be apparent to most employees that injuries such as falls or accidents could qualify for workers’ compensation, they may not realize that repetitive use injuries are also included.
Repetitive use injuries
Repetitive use injuries most often occur when there is trauma, friction or overuse of a person’s hands and wrists. The most common type is tendonitis, which can cause swelling, weakness and sensitivity to cold or heat.
For example, a person who works at a computer typing, uses power tools, scans groceries or works outside in the winter may be more likely to develop these injuries.
Although they may not be life threatening, repetitive use injuries can be extremely painful and interfere with the employee’s ability to earn a living. Even mild discomfort may indicate that an employee’s work activities need to be modified to prevent additional injuries. The employer may need to provide ergonomic equipment or take other measures to reduce the employee’s risk of injury.
If an employee believes he or she has a work-related repetitive use injury, there is workers’ compensation guidance available to address it.