Repetitive Trauma Injuries
Many veteran railroad employees suffer from injuries caused by the repetitive nature of their jobs. These injuries are sometimes referred to as cumulative trauma injuries, repetitive trauma injuries, occupational injuries or “wear out” injuries. Whatever the term, these injuries can be just as significant to the injured employee as single event traumas.
Over the years, most railroads have ignored evidence both within the railroad industry and outside the industry about the injurious effects of performing one physical task over and over again. Ergonomics is a field of medical science that determines whether a particular job task, given the repetition of the task, the posture of the employee in performing the task, and force associated with the task, creates a risk of injury over time. Despite knowledge of the ergonomic risk factors (repetition, force and awkward posture) associated with jobs within the railroad industry, railroads in general have done little or nothing to reduce the risks or warn employees about the development of injuries created by the risks.
These injuries can involve almost any area of the body, including the knees, arms, hands, shoulders, back and neck.
By Matt Darby