Web-OOS Network Support
For Occupational Overuse Syndrome Sufferers -
Support and Information

Join our WebOOS group below to network with other members:
Web-OOS Online Group

Join Web-OOS!

Whangaparaoa OOS Support Group direct contact

WebOOS Logo

Repetitive strain, occupational overuse injuries
- New Zealand -

Please read disclaimer at bottom of page before entering this website.

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.....

2006 News:
Report on Gradual Process Injuries to the Minister of ACC

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.

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 workplace managers.
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" assessments.)

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 opinion.

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.
...Read 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 claimants.

To Medical Info Page
To Research Page
To Work Safety Page
To NZ Laws Page
To Your Stories Page To Archives Page

About The Groups and Joining Options

We are here to help provide information and support to people who have OOS through injury at work in New Zealand. People who belong to the groups come from all walks of life and have varying degrees of injury.

To join the local Whangaparaoa group, please email us at Join Whangaparaoa OOS Support Group and state that you wish to join the local group. The group has a small annual subscription of NZ$15.00 to cover monthly newsletter mailouts, photocopying etc.

If you would like to join the Website group and don't wish to join the local group, it is of course free. You will receive a newsletter via email on a bi-monthly basis (i.e. every two months). Please make contact with us through our members only online group. (See top left column to join up).

If you have chronic pain or disability and you want spiritual support,
this is the place for you to find it:

Rest Ministries, Inc. serving people who live with chronic illness or pain.

Disclaimer: this OOS website is intended to be for group support and discussion and NOT for medical assessment nor professional legal advice of any kind.
Copyright Web-OOS 2001

Web-OOS Network Support