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Reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries

Repetitive stress injuries, such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, are very common in workers employed in mass production and manufacturing industries in New Jersey and around the country. To help reduce the risk of developing these conditions, experts rate the risk of injury on a 0 to 10 scale. However, this method is very subjective and leaves a lot of room for improvement.

One potential method of reducing the risk to workers is to film a worker's hand movements and see if they may increase the risk of injury. The idea has been proposed by a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Using computer vision algorithms, researchers are able to use video footage to calculate the risk of hand activity levels.

The goal is to eventually use smart phones to film an employee's hand motions as they work. The video could then be sent to a centralized cloud-based computer system where the film would be analyzed. If the worker's motions may be increasing the risk of injury, an employer could be notified in real-time. Use of a smartphone app is expected to make the evaluation process low-cost enough to be available for businesses of all sizes.

Workers' compensation benefits can be available for these types of injuries just as they can be for people who are in a workplace accident. However, it is always possible that an employer will try to assert that such an injury was caused by activities outside of the workplace in an attempt to deny a claim. Accordingly, it might be advisable to have legal counsel at a subsequent appeals hearing.

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