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Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (Act No. 130 of 1993)

Circular Instructions

Circular Instruction No. 180 - Compensation of Work-related Upper Limb Disorders (WRULDs)

1. Definition


WRULDs is a collective term for a group of occupational diseases that consist of musculo-skeletal disorders caused by exposure in the workplace affecting the muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, joints and bursae of the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder. These are syndromes associated with characteristic symptoms and physical signs (e.g. rotator cuff syndrome, epicondylitis at the elbow, tenosynovitis and nerve entrapments such as carpal tunnel syndrome).


Previously other terms had been used, such as repetitive strain injury (RSI), cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), occupational overuse syndrome (OOS), occupational cervico-brachial disorder (OCD), etc.For the purpose of this instruction the umbrella term, work-related upper limb disorders (WRULDs), will be used.


WRULDs are caused, aggravated or precipitated by one or more of the following risk factors, singly or in combination:

Highly repetitive movements
Movements requiring force
Movements at the extremes of reach
Static muscle loading
Awkward sustained postures
Contact stress (e.g. uncomfortable gripping and twisting, sharp edges to hand tools, desk edges, etc.)


In terms of this instruction, upper limb musculo-skeletal disorders will be presumed to be work-related if the nature of the work performed includes exposure to the relevant risk factors.