Shop our 2024 calendars. Now available for purchase!
Image for International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day

International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day

International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day is dedicated to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) education and prevention. Also known as work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), RSIs are painful disorders that affect the tendons, muscles, nerves, and joints in the neck, upper and lower back, shoulders, chest, arms, and hands. They are caused by activities that are frequent and repetitive, as well as by activities with awkward postures, excessive force concentrated on small parts of the body—like on hands or wrists—and work that doesn't allow for rest between movements for recovery. Heat, cold, and vibration can also contribute. The injuries are usually caused by a combination of these factors, not just one of them, but the main source is the repetitiveness of work.

Some repetitive movements are holding, gripping, twisting, bending, clenching, typing, pushing, pulling, lifting, and reaching. These aren't harmful in daily life, but can be harmful if they become repetitive. Prevention of RSIs must aim to end the repetitiveness of work with proper job design. This could mean mechanizing some tasks and allowing workers to rotate between different tasks so they use different muscle groups. Other preventive strategies include providing workers with well-maintained and appropriate equipment and tools and a good workstation and workplace layout, with options to sit and stand. Workers should be trained to recognize what causes RSIs, how they develop, and how to recognize early signs and symptoms. The top sign that someone has one is pain. Other signs are muscle tightness, joint stiffness, redness and swelling, numbness, "pins and needles" sensations, skin color changes, and decreased sweating in hands. Disorders should be recognized early on because treatments become less effective the longer the injuries go on.

International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day was created by Catherine Fenech, an injured worker from Toronto, and first observed in 2000. The day's goal is to increase public attention about RSIs and spur corporate and government action on them. The hope is that having a day focused on RSIs will help prevent them, promote understanding and acceptance of those who suffer from them, and stimulate research. Windsor and four other Canadian cities marked the first observance, and cities in 13 other countries participated as well. In Windsor, a clinic hosted a presentation and workshops about office ergonomics, risk factors, and identifying injuries. The holiday is observed on February 29—the only "non-repetitive" day of the year—an ideal date to raise awareness about repetitive strain injuries. During non-leap years it takes place on February 28. In practice, it takes place on the last day in February.

How to Observe International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day

Use the day to increase public attention about repetitive strain injuries, to spur corporate and government action on them, and to promote understanding and acceptance of those who suffer from them. Watch for signs of RSIs that your body is giving you, and make sure your workstation and workspace are organized to minimize the chance of RSIs. You could organize a workshop dedicated to understanding risk factors and identifying injuries. You could also utilize the main website dedicated to the day, maintained by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, which has resources to help address repetitive strain injuries, resources to raise awareness on social media, and resources that can be used on websites.

Exclusive Content

Enjoying Checkiday? It takes a lot of support from fans like you to run a free website. For exclusive content and other perks, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Thank you!


This event does not currently have a sponsor. If you'd like to increase visibility for this event while gaining exposure for yourself or your brand, you can learn more here!

Something Wrong or Missing?

We would love to hear from you! Please contact us using this form.

Observation Notifications

Would you like to be notified before the next observation? Add this event directly to your calendar with this link. You may also sign up here to be told when other notifications are available!

Also on this date…