I just read in Personnel Today that an article by The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has hilighted the issue of repetitive strain injury (RSI) by reporting an increase of 52,000 reported incidents in the UK from 396,000 in 2001/02 to 448,000 in 2003/04.
Personally, I think that the stats are skewed towards public service employees maybe because they have more opportunity to report injury, are more likely to take time off for an injury, or have more information enabling them to recognise an injury. However, it doesn't stop it from being highly relevant to anyone in IT. We still work in a classic environment of keyboard and mouse use combined with high amounts of stress. A couple of years ago I started getting a stiff neck and a sore shoulder after long hours at the keyboard trying to meet difficult deadlines. As I got more stressed my arm started going numb at night, menaing that I could only sleep on my back. I realised that something needed to be done, so I gave up being the owner of an IT consultancy to reduce my stress levels, started going to the gym again and did some yoga. Fortunately in my case it seems to have worked. I think that it was mostly stress and not a physical injury, but it could very easily have been something to do with how I use my mouse and keyboard. Can you imagine being a Developer and not being able to type? Your hands and arms are the tools of your trade and without their use you are effectively unable to work.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy suggests that employers take three simple steps to protecting the health of their workforce:
Other sources of information;