Most workers establish a sort of routine for their everyday tasks. It may be getting a mug of coffee to carry to the desk before starting up the computer, or arranging tools on the workbench before starting on a repair job. This type of repetitive behavior is beneficial because it makes work more efficient. But there are some routines that can be hazardous to the health.

Repetitive stress injuries in the workplace are also known as cumulative trauma disorders because they are chronic injuries that worsen over time. Many of these types of workplace injuries result in no apparent harm to the doer in the short term, but may have serious consequences when done over a long time.

A good example would be shifting boxes from shelf to the other. The boxes are not extremely heavy, but heavy enough to require some effort to lift and manipulate. If it occurs once in a while, this will usually not do much harm because the muscles have time to heal. But when it is done regularly, a more sustained musculoskeletal injury may result, usually to the back when lifting is not done properly. Many workers have claimed workers’ compensation benefits for back injuries due to forceful exertions. This sort of injuries are very common, especially if the worker is on a construction site where they are required to lift heavier objects. 

In fact, such seemingly harmless activities can progress in severity to a point where the worker can become permanently disabled. Taking the above example, back pain may be indicative of a herniated disc, nerve root compression, or fracture of the spine. When it is not properly treated, the causes of back pain can become progressively worse. Back injuries constitute the most common permanent partial disability claim with the Social Security Administration.

If you have become temporarily or permanently disabled because of repetitive stress injuries at work, you may be entitled to benefits from the SSA and workers’ compensation insurance. Consult with a disability benefits lawyer in the area to know your options.