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Dedicating a Day to Repetitive Strain Injury

Participants from 13 different countries will come together on Feb. 29 to mark the first annual Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day.

Feb. 29 will mark the first annual International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day.

Participants from 13 different countries, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Sweden and the United States will come together to increase awareness and education about these injuries.

AFL-CIO is among the many international group of injured workers, trade unionists and health and safety professionals planning this event.

According to the AFL-CIO, Feb. 29 was chosen to mark this day because it is the only nonrepetitve day on the calendar.

RSI is an umbrella term for a number of overuse injuries affecting the soft tissue of the neck, upper and lower back, chest, shoulders, arms and hands, caused by a variety of factors including repetition, force and awkward postures.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, repetitive trauma disorders (not including back injuries) accounted for 62 percent of all reported work-related illness cases in 1995.

The planners of this event hope to raise awareness of RSI through public education.

"We're not raising funds for medical research, we're raising awareness -- that these are real injuries, they are work-related, they can be prevented, and early appropriate intervention is the key to preventing permanent disability," according to an AFL-CIO statement.

With its network of international planning groups and volunteers, the International RSI Awareness Day Planning Committee plans to pursue its mission by:

  • Educating the public about the types of RSI, the risk factors and how best to prevent, detect and treat RSI.
  • Stimulating research to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Encouraging participation by workers, employers, unions, health care professionals, ergonomists, lawmakers and all others concerned with finding solutions to RSI.

The planning day committee is advising those interested in participating to organize a local event, spread the word and ask their union what it is doing to mark RSI Awareness Day.

To learn more about the planning or the day, go to

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