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Report identifies high-risk occupations for carpal tunnel syndrome

Workers in apparel manufacturing, food processing, administrative work at highest risk

Posted October 10, 2018

A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies high-risk industries and occupations for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and offers recommendations. The report is based on findings by the California Department of Public Health, which analyzed California workers’ compensation claims for CTS by industry and occupation, and calculated rates per full-time equivalent (FTE) worker.

Data revealed that female workers and workers in apparel manufacturing, food processing, and administrative work are at highest risk for CTS.

CTS is caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist. This compression results in pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in the hand or the wrist. Occupational risk factors include engaging in work activities that require forceful, repetitive tasks, prolonged use of the hands or wrists in an awkward posture, or vibration.

The report recommends that industries with high rates of CTS consider implementing intervention measures, including ergonomic evaluations and development of tools and instruments that require less repetition and force, and that correct awkward postures.

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