Overuse Injury - Are you at Risk?

If you are developing overuse injury symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.

By law, your employer must provide a safe and healthy workplace.

The causes of overuse injury need to be identified, assessed adn controlled.

What Are Overuse Injuries?

Overuse injuries (also known as Repetitive Stress Injuries [RSI], Tenosynovitis or Occupational Overuse Syndrome [OOS]) are injuries caused by repetitive work.

Rapid repetitive movements requiring prolonged periods of muscle strain are the main cause of overuse injuries.

In retailing, there are many activities which may place you at risk of an overuse injury, these include:

  • Stocking shelves
  • Checkout operations (like scanning)
  • Packing
  • Unloading pallets
  • Repetitive Lifting

Overuse injuries generally involve damage to muscles, tendons, tendon sheaths and nerves of the hands, arms, shoulders and neck. They can cause permanent injury if not detected early.


Causes of overuse injuries in retail workplaces include:

  • Excessive work rates
  • Poor checkout design
  • Inadequate variety of tasks
  • Repetitive lifting
  • Awkward working positions
  • Poor workplace, tool and equipment design
  • Inadequate training


Pain is usually the main symptom of overuse injuries.

This pain commonly occurs in the neck, hands and back, and occasionally in the legs.

Many people suffer from swelling and/or numbness in and around the affected muscles or tendons.

However, if the condition worsens, it may persist while doing other movements or while the injured part is at rest.

Overuse injuries may become worse as the day progresses. they may feel better in the morning after a period of rest.

More Info

For more information on control measures, prevention and actions to take relating to overuse injuries, contact the SDA