Tendinitis, the top occupational disease

In 2012, 1,618 people attempted to have their tendinitis recognized as an occupational illness. According to the statistics from the Fund for occupational diseases (FMP), 875 positive decisions were rendered. Tendinitis in the upper limbs now surpasses carpal tunnel syndrome issues, respiratory infections, deafness and back problems.

“It’s not at all surprising,” says Patrick Strauss, FMP general counselor. “This phenomenon exists in France as well as in other industrialized countries.” According to FMP numbers, store cashiers and warehouse personnel are the most affected. Next comes the packaging and labeling sectors with industrial cleaning and domestic help coming in fourth. Metal and construction workers are tied for fifth out of five.

In Patrick Strauss’ eyes, three elements come together to explain occupational tendinitis: “There is, of course, the matter of the relentless repetition of identical gestures. If the workspace is not adapted to people, it could pose a problem. Tendinitis tends to show up more with age.”

This tendon condition has only been recognized as an occupational disease since November 1, 2012. Prior to that, a worker had to prove that his condition was due to his work and submit his file to a commission. This is no longer the case.

“The numbers confirm that the addition of tendinitis on the list of diseases was overdue,” points out Philippe Courard, secretary of state in charge of professional risk. The number of filings has more than doubled: 623 were filed in 2008, compared to 1,618 in 2012.

Michel Muller, prevention consultant and occupational medicine physician, confirms that specialists are paying more attention to tendinitis. He explains, “Prevention is essential. Workstations need to be modified to avoid poor posture. If the condition is diagnosed, rest is required immediately.”

SPF has published a series of informative brochures on preventing musculoskeletal problems by profession to educate workers susceptible to tendinitis. Copies are available with customized advice for cashiers, kitchen and cleaning workers.

These documents can be downloaded from the SPF Emploi’s website under the heading “bien-être” (well-being), at the “organisation au travail” (organization at work) tab, in the “publications” section.

 ANN-CHARLOTTE BERSIPONT (st.)

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