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Back injuries are not the only injuries that poor manual handling can cause. Injuries to other parts of the body can also occur; injuries to fingers and thumbs are the next most common, followed by injuries to arms, hands and wrists. WRULDs or Work Related Upper Limb Disorders is a term used to describe a group of conditions that can affect the upper limbs. These are caused by repetitive movements, commonly known as RSI or repetitive strain injury, and/or actions of lengthy durations, application of significant force and unnatural postures like twisting and reaching. Vulnerable adults, pregnant staff and those with preexisting medical conditions are more at risk of getting work-related upper limb disorders. This can include manual handling activities like pushing, pulling and lifting. It can also affect office workers as well or people on construction sites or in factories.

Work-related upper limb injuries are normally chronic and get progressively worse over a period of time. If the activity is repeated before enough time has passed to allow the injury to heal, then there should be no permanent damage. However, if the activity is continually repeated without significant time for healing, the injury will get progressively worse over a period of time.

The main symptoms of work-related upper limb disorders are aching pain to the back, neck and shoulders, swollen joints and muscles, tiredness accompanied by tingling, soft tissue swelling similar to a bruise and also a restriction in joint movement. The most common of which is where it affects the wrists. If this injury is ignored over a period of time, it will become a permanent injury.

Injuries due to poor manual handling techniques can also be sustained to the lower limbs and to the rest of the torso. An example of this would be a hernia where it is a rupture of the body wall and the cavity within the stomach allowing the abdomen to come through. This can only normally be corrected by surgery.

The sustained injuries vary and the type of injury normally depends on which area of the body is affected. The most common injuries are sprains and strains, making up nearly 70% of all reported manual handling injuries. The difference between a sprain and a strain is that the sprain is when there is damage to the ligaments, whereas a strain is a damage to the muscles. Manual handling sprain and strain injuries normally occur to the back or in the arms or the wrists.

Other wrist injuries can be in the form of lacerations, bruisings, other superficial injuries like cuts, bruises caused from unprotected sharp edges and corners. Finally, fractures to the bone, the most common of which occur to the feet where loads have been dropped on them and other fractures like bones being crushed or when a person has fallen badly. Incorrect use of display screen equipment or DSE and repetitive strain injury causes too many injuries and illnesses.

Regulations for DSE are detailed in the Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992. Basically, anyone who uses this equipment in excess of one continuous hour in a day is classed as a user. Users are entitled to free eye tests and glasses for DSE use. The basic regulations governing DSE and workstation use are that the risk assessment on the workstation should be carried out. This includes inspection of lighting, temperature, noise, space around the workstation, the chair, desk, footrest, document holders, the screen itself, keyboard, the software in use, trip and electrical hazards from trailing cables and the surrounding environment. And finally, training and sufficient information should be given to all users.