Front Page







World Summary

On Air


Talking Point


Text Only


Site Map

Monday, November 24, 1997 Published at 21:02 GMT


RSI test case starts
image: [ Court date: two of the women fighting the RSI test case ]
Court date: two of the women fighting the RSI test case

A major test case in which part-time bank workers are claiming compensation for Repetitive Strain Injury has begun in Britain.

The Banking Insurance and Finance Union is taking the case on behalf of five former part-time employees of Midland Bank's processing centre in Frimley, Surrey.

The five were employed inputting cheques and other information onto computers and worked to strict deadlines.

[ image: Linda Gregory, of Bifu, says the women suffer pain in teh arms and neck]
Linda Gregory, of Bifu, says the women suffer pain in teh arms and neck
Outside court, Bifu negotiating officer Linda Gregory said: "The women have suffered RSI as a result of thousands and thousands of very small repetitive movements encoding information from cheques.

"The symptoms show themselves as pain in the hands, wrists, all up the arms, shoulders, elbows and across the back of the neck."

Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI, refers to a spectrum of diseases, from tendonitis of the hand or wrist to carpal tunnel syndrome.

The injuries come from repeated physical movements, such as typing or using a computer mouse, that cause damage to tendons, nerves, muscles and other soft body tissues.

How injuries occur

To function properly, the body needs a steady supply of blood. Cutting off or slowing the blood supply harms the tissues of the body. Tense muscles squeeze off their own flow of energy and fuel.

[ image: Good posture can prevent RSI]
Good posture can prevent RSI
Muscles can get energy without oxygen, but not without pain. The process produces lactic acid, a potent pain-causing chemical. As pain develops, muscles tighten further to "guard" the surrounding area. Nerves deprived of blood and squeezed by muscles begin to tingle or go numb.

The rise in computer use has caused the number of RSI cases to skyrocket in recent years. A number of books have been written on the subject and many people have started Internet campaigns to make workers more aware of the dangers.

[ image: But bad posture can cause RSI]
But bad posture can cause RSI
Ms Gregory said: "RSI will be the industrial disease of the 21st century if employers ignore the well-being of staff. Employers need to start taking RSI seriously."

The case, at the Mayor's and City of London Court, is expected to run until Chrismas with a judgement unlikely before the New Year.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage

Related Stories

From Sci/Tech
RSI risk for teenagers

Internet Links

Computer related repetitive strain injury information

Ergonomic resources home page

A patient's guide to RSI

RSI UK page

Guide to stretching and flexibility

Typing injury FAQ

Midland Bank

The BBC is not responsible for the content of these internet sites.
In this section

Microsoft trial mediator welcomed

Vodafone takeover battle heats up

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

NatWest bid timetable frozen

No longer Liffe as we know it

France faces EU action over electricity

Inquiry into energy provider loyalty

The growing threat of internet fraud

Christmas turkey strike vote

Brown considers IMF job

Train robbery game hope for SCi

From Sport
League to rule on Sky shares

Mannesmann fights back

Online share dealing triples

Chinese imports boost US trade gap

Pace enters US cable heartland

The rapid rise of Vodafone

Storehouse splits up Mothercare and Bhs

Brown's bulging war-chest

The hidden shopping bills

Europe's top net stock

House passes US budget

Rate fears as sales soar

Safeway faces cash demand probe

Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

Maxwell pledge to pensioners

Power cuts spark union warning

New factory creates 500 jobs

Drugs company announces 300 jobs

Oil reaches nine-year high

'Asian management culture must change'

US 'prepared for Millennium Bug'

Gucci on a spending spree

Business Contents

Your Money
Market Data
Business Basics