21 Jul 2022

Wrist risks at work

Women working in hairdressing, laundry and manufacturing are most at risk from wrist and elbow problems, new research has found. Experts studied data from female-dominated occupations in Italy and looked at acute work injuries and cumulative trauma disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

They discovered hairdressing and laundry workers were most likely to suffer from acute work injuries in their wrists, while cleaners were more affected in their elbows. When all forms of injury and disorders were combined, hairdressing and laundry were the highest risk, followed by manufacturing.

The study highlighted the sectors’ “well known exposure to strenuous hand/arm movements, workload, biomechanical strain, awkward postures and prolonged standing and sitting”.

It added: “Our results should be applied to promote women’s health at work, reducing falls, repetitive tasks, awkward postures, increasing skilled techniques, etc. Prevention is still a long pathway if, as shown, thousands of women workers still have these health and safety problems.

“A new ergonomics approach to preventing women’s acute work injuries and cumulative trauma to wrist and elbow in these work activities need to be designed, according to these results.”

The study, by Silvana Salerno and Claudia Giliberti, is published in the Ergonomics journal. 

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