RSI – approved or hushed up?In 1984, Australia was the first country ever to acknowledge RSI as an occupational disease. It took a striking 15 additional years for the EU countries to take a closer look at RSI on the initiative of the Dutch Ministry for Social Affairs. The result was a shock: Only half of the EU countries were able to come up with any usable statistics on the disease by the end of the millennium. At least one British survey existed claiming that next to half a million British people were suffering from work-related problems of the muscles and skeleton of the arm and neck regions. On an annual basis, in Great Britain, 200.000 people newly acquire RSI. According to a Finnish survey, ca. 40 per cent of the female office workers suffer from problems of the neck and shoulder regions.
Until today, there no universal definition of the term RSI has been worked up for the whole of the EU. In Germany, in the view of experts on RSI, the topic tends to be hushed up since the professional organisations fear a flood of lawsuits as a result of people becoming unable to work. There are some contradictory studies on this, on the one hand it is claimed that the onset of RSI is closely connected with the workplace/type of work, the organisation of work as well as psycho-social factors, on the other hand the view is held that there is no correlation between diseases of the muscles, the skeleton and VDU work; thus so far no proper light has been shed on the disease. As opposed to that, the US has accepted the correlation between repetitive movements exerted at the workplace and the occurrence of problems of the muscles and skeleton as a scientifically proven fact. In the US, RSI is accounted for 60 per cent of the loss of working hours.
You can get extensive information on RSI viewed internationally from the report "Health Damage caused by RSI among the members of the EU“, published by the European Agency for Safety and Health Protection at the Workplace. You will find more here.