We often imagine the worst when we talk about workplace injuries—loss of limb, perhaps, or diseases developed due to unclean air—but something seemingly minor could have drastic consequences depending on a person’s profession. Mild carpal tunnel may just be a minor inconvenience to a waitress, but it could be devastating to a professional pianist.
Musicians and Repetitive Stress Injuries
Eighty percent of professional musicians develop workplace injuries during the holiday season, according to a study from the University of Alberta. Typical injuries include:
- Repetitive strain
- Nerve compression
- Torn ligaments
Musicians typically work more hours at holiday concerts and parties. More work for a musician inevitably means more rehearsals.
Pianist Peter Jancewaicz suffered a repetitive stress injury and wasn’t able to play piano for three years due to his condition.
Alexander Cohen, principal timpanist for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, saw the orchestra diminished by 10 percent as musicians were on leave for disability.
Workplace Injuries for All Workers
The holidays put extra pressure on all workers, not just musicians. Temporary and seasonal workers are even more likely than permanent employees to be involved in workplace accidents because:
- The holiday rush puts pressure on everyone as production demands and retail customer flow increase.
- Temporary workers may be less familiar with the company’s safety procedures and policies.
- People tend to work overtime around the holiday season or take on extra jobs in order to earn money for buying gifts.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that workers’ injury symptoms are more likely to be overlooked or dismissed during the holiday season. There may be lag time between the date of the injury and the date of lost time from work, according to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
Repetitive stress injuries are one of the top ten most disabling, nonfatal workplace injuries in the United States, according to the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. These injuries may seem minor but can make even the simplest tasks—controlling a computer mouse or bagging groceries, for example—difficult or impossible for injured workers.
Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws mandate that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you’re hurt on the job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim at your job or with the Worker’s Compensation Board in Indianapolis.