For Occupational Overuse Syndrome Sufferers -
Support and Information
Join our WebOOS group below to network with other members:
Whangaparaoa OOS Support
Group direct contact
Repetitive strain, occupational overuse injuries
Please read disclaimer at bottom of page
before entering this website.
- New Zealand -
Welcome to Web OOS!!
(For those of you who don't know, OOS is
another name for RSI. It was changed from "RSI" to "OOS" in New Zealand
a few years ago....just to confuse us all! :) )
This OOS network is (and probably always will
be) an ongoing work. We appreciate genuine participation and support
for each other.
Please do read through the pages and have a
look around. We hope that OOS sufferers will find some helpful
information here. Come on in!......
read the news below first.....
NB: You need Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer to read the report. If you don't have it, it's free. Go here to get it.
Report on Gradual Process Injuries to the Minister of ACC
View the Report of the
Ministerial Advisory Panel on Work Related Gradual Process, Disease or Infection. Page 27 specifically comments on Regional Pain Syndrome so have a read. It could well affect you if you work in high risk occupations such as data entry, librarian, meat worker and many others. It is a continual fight to change conditions of work which lead to these injuries, rather than blaming the workers who are injured.
The report recommends that the law be altered to recognise Regional Pain Syndrome (RPS) as a work related injury. This "diagnosis", RPS, is currently being viewed by ACC as not related to work unless there has been a different injury preceding it such as tenosynovitis. Applications for cover have been turned down by the truckload in the past few years.
What's happening about RSI/OOS in New Zealand employment now?
You might have noticed that RSI/OOS has been "swept under the carpet". An effective strategy
by employers, ACC and many of their assessing doctors has led to the pretence that such
injuries are minimal, a "syndrome" of unknown cause and that it's the worker, not the work,
that is to blame. A familiar cry from such doctors etc. is that people with RSI are
"predisposed" to it. This has had the effect of removing the pressure off employers and onto
employees. The following abstract from research conducted in Canada shows that this ploy is
not confined to New Zealand:
The demise of repetitive strain injury in sceptical governing rationalities of
MacEachen Ellen. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2E9.
Sociology of Health and Illness Journal. 2005 May;27(4):490-514.
"In the mid-1990s, RSI (repetitive strain injury) loomed as an occupational health epidemic in
industrialised countries. A decade later, the problem appears to have faded away, but there has
been little explanation for how this problem might have diminished. This paper offers an
explanation for the decline of RSI in the social relations of workplaces, in the pragmatic,
day-to-day governance of occupational health by workplace managers. Using the conceptual lens of
governmentality theory, this study examined how workplace managers conceptualised, rationalised
and responded to RSI in their work organisations. Open-ended interviews were conducted with
35 managers at four Ontario newspaper workplaces. This paper describes managers as guided by
a discourse of scepticism about the legitimacy of RSI complaints. This discourse was 'practised'
in different ways at each newspaper in varied RSI-management strategies, but each strategy
privileged ideas about RSI being problematic in certain types of workers rather than in types of
physical work environments. This conceptualisation of RSI splintered, subordinated and collapsed
the problem within a broad human resources framework. This paper suggests that the 'taming' of
RSI might have occurred in the context of micro-political, workplace-level shifts in the
conceptualisation and management of RSI as an occupational health problem."
End of abstract.
There's a difference between making work conditions better and effectively forcing people to hide their injuries. RSI has been attributed to "certain types of workers", not "types of physical work environments". We know that's not true but unfortunately, employees have had to realise that they must pretend their injury occurred at home so they can hopefully get on the good side of their employer and keep their job. They are unlikely to be helped by OSH and about half of ACC claims are being turned down. Most are unsuccessful at review and therefore, those with RSI/OOS, the hard workers of our nation, are being treated as worthless. The lesson? Don't work too hard. Just work at an easy pace. If you work hard and are injured, you will very likely be left out in the cold... UNLESS the Ministerial Report on Gradual Process Injuries above is brought into law and how likely is that given the government's current record?
Are you being assessed by a doctor who has been employed by
ACC or your employer? (sometimes called an
"independent assessor" but ACC naturally favour sending claimants to
assessors who demonstrate a high rate of "able-to-work-fulltime"
You need to read our comments on the Medical Council Guidelines for Non-Treating Doctors Performing
Medical Assessments of Patients for Third Parties. These guidelines are
of some help to injured parties although they still protect assessing
doctors too much and still leave room for shoddy practises, in our
ACC's Code of Claimant Rights actually DENIES Claimant Rights
Further to our comments below:
This code has become law. In effect it has removed rights as now we are
forced to abide by ACC's decisions concerning how we are treated by
them. The very organisation we complain about will be deciding whether
or not our complaint should be upheld. Is this a free state or WHAT?!..
furthermore, the Minister of ACC has taken no notice of the Law
Society's concerns about this Code of Claimant no-rights.
The New Zealand Law Society is concerned about the ACC
Code of Claimant Rights which seeks to remove the claimant's
right to take matters to court. The NZ Law Society's concerns (and
ours!) about the Code are summarised as:
• Fails to provide alternative and further
complaints-route outside of ACC
• Fails to provide monetary remedy to the claimant for ACC
contravention of claimant rights
• Fails to address contravention of claimant rights, including
only what is already existing ACC law.
• Mentions Maori and Pacific rights, giving the impression that
their rights will be considered over other races.
Some of our members sent in submissions to the government
because we were so concerned about the denial of rights under the "ACC
Code of Claimant Rights" which was being drafted. We are sorry to
have to report that the Code appears to have been rubber-stamped by the
Minister without the necessary changes to ensure claimant rights.
more about ACC here including the submission sent
in by some WebOOS members.
Scoop's article from Maree Howard
We had hoped that the Minister of ACC, Ruth Dyson, would
ensure that this existing Code did not become law because it
is, as pointed out by the NZ Law Society, illegal. In our view, it
further reflects the frequently bad and unjust attitude of ACC towards injured