Legal point of view

The United States

The U.S. economy is no stranger to lawsuits. Class action lawsuits have been common in the business landscape for years. Whenever it has been possible, the U.S. legal system has aggregated single lawsuits, and group class actions have been filed.

As part of mouse arm syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome is increasingly common in the U.S. The Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that musculoskeletal disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, are among the most prevalent medical conditions in the U.S., affecting seven percent of the population.

Furthermore, studies by the National Center for Health Statistics show that approximately 260,000 carpal tunnel release operations are performed each year, with 47 percent of the cases considered to be work related. With those numbers, we believe it is just a matter of time before someone files the first major lawsuit in connection to carpal tunnel syndrome in the U.S.

What can you do to protect yourself? This Web site is a good starting point. Research shows several causes behind mouse arm and its relation to frequent computer use. It also clearly shows how set up a workplace to avoid the problems related to frequent computer work. Make sure to educate yourself, and use ergonomically correct arrangements and equipment in work spaces. This way, you might not just avoid the cost of a lawsuit, but also the expense of rehabilitating workers suffering from mouse arm. According to the National Council of Compensation Insurance, the average compensation of a CTS victim is $33,000.

Scandinavia and the rest of the world

The Scandinavian countries have been in the forefront of developing the ergonomic science and ergonomic equipment. They have, however, also been in the forefront of developing the legal landscape when it comes to the workplace and work-related injuries. Legislation to regulate the set-up of the work place has been in place in Scandinavia for years.

In the last weeks of the Clinton administration, the U.S. passed ergonomic regulations intended to work reduce work place-related, repetitive strain injuries. President Clinton, however, never signed the bill, and it passed to the new Bush administration. As a result of pressure from corporate lobbyists, President Bush scraped the controversial legislation entirely. President Barak Obama, however, has indicated he supports national ergonomic standards, and we believe it is only a matter of time before U.S. lawmakers again take steps toward to require employers to provide ergonomic solutions for their workers.

Who are you?

Because treatment of carpal tunnel victims is extremely expensive, class action lawsuits relating to CTS are just waiting to happen. With the potential for new ergonomic legislation looming in the not-so-distant future, it’s time for you to ask yourself who you are. You can be proactive and prevent potential future damage to your workers and to your company, or you can settle for being reactive when the damage is done. The choice is yours.