Upper limb disorders (ULDs) are aches, pains, tension and disorders involving any part of the arm from fingers to shoulder, or the neck. It includes problems with the soft tissues, muscles, tendons and ligaments along with the circulatory and nerve supply to the limb. Upper limb disorders are often caused or made worse by work.
If you have sustained an upper limb disorder due to your work or working environment then you may be entitled to compensation.
Repetitive, stressful work may cause injury or aggravate a condition to certain parts of the body, particularly the shoulder and back. Work related upper limb disorders can also affect the hands and arms and are amongst the more commonly encountered conditions as a result of the working environment.
Duty of care
Employers have a duty to ensure that their employees are protected from health risks in the workplace as far as is reasonably practicable. This could include operating an appropriate rota system so that one person is not doing the same job all of the time, thus reducing the risk of causing an upper limb disorder.
What injuries are classified as an upper limb disorder?
The following are conditions that come under the definition of an upper limb disorder:
- carpal tunnel syndrome – wrist pain, pins and needles, weakness of hand or fingers
- golfer’s elbow – pain and swelling where the muscle joins the bone at the elbow
- tendinitis – inflammation of the tendons
- tennis elbow – inflammation of the tendons of the hand or arm
- De Quervains syndrome – thickening of the fibrous sheath of the tendons
- peri-tendinitis – inflammation of the muscle and the thumb extensor tendons on the inner side of the wrist
- tenosynovitis – pain and swelling in the hand
Upper limb disorder symptoms
Symptoms can be caused by:
- repeated use of vibrating tools resulting in vibration white finger (VWF) or hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)
- heavy manual lifting
- production line performing repetitive tasks
- using a computer or telephone for long periods resulting in repetitive strain injury (RSI)
- poorly designed workspaces
- operating machinery
- working in confined spaces causing restricted movements
Time limit to bring an upper limb disorder compensation claim
Anyone who wishes to make a compensation claim has a period of 3 years in which to do so before Court proceedings have to be issued. The 3 year period is easy to calculate if you have been injured in an accident. With repetitive strain injury (RSI) claims, the 3 year period will start to run from the date that you realised that the type of work you have been doing has caused the condition from which you now suffer. Usually, but not always, this date could be when your doctor provides you with a diagnosis.
If you, or a loved one, has suffered an upper limb disorder as a result of your employment and wish to consider the possibility of bringing an upper limb disorder compensation claim, please call our Personal Injury (PI) and upper limb disorder lawyers on Freephone 0808 164 0808 for a FREE, no-obligation chat. Alternatively, you can complete the request a call back form and we will call you.