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Clothes and garment manufacturing

Though RSI is commonly perceived to be a recent phenomenon, it is certainly not confined to computer users. In fact most industrial and manufacturing activities throughout the ages, which have involved any form of repetitive movement, have had their own overuse syndromes. Soft tissue injuries to muscles, tendons and nerves in the hand, arms, neck and shoulders are known by a variety of names. Tenosynovitis, for example, is a recognised industrial injury for occupations involving frequent or repeated movements of the hand or wrist.

Workers in the clothing and garment manufacturing industries may face the following risk factors which can contribute to the development of RSI; insufficient breaks, repetitive actions, gripping and twisting movements and the use of vibrating equipment. Awkward postures or arms outstretched may put joints and muscles under further pressure.

Cloth cutters, manual sewers, pressers, yarn processors, sewing machine operators and homeworkers are particular risk occupations identified by Hagberg, Silverstein et al in their reference book on Work related musculoskeletal disorders (1995,Taylor & Francis).