The number of workers' compensation claims for RSI has dropped by two-thirds in Western Australia since the State led the world in introducing preventative measures in the mid-eighties.
Productivity and Labour Relations Minister Yvonne Henderson said today that the Government took action to address the RSI issue not long after it was identified.
The introduction of preventative measures such as ergonomic workstations with individually adjustable furniture and breaks each hour from the repetitive task preceded a big drop in the number of claims.
Mrs Henderson said she totally rejected reported claims by Judge John Barlow in his judgement against Maree Verna Tyrrell yesterday.
"In describing RSI as an epidemic of the eighties and as a discomfort normal to those who perform physical work, he appears to be ignoring the correlation of its dramatic onset with the introduction of new technology and faster, constant typing, particularly of figures," she said.
"The reduced compensation claims from a high of 635 in 1985 to 208 last financial year correlate with changed workplace culture."
She said the only figures for compensation claims which had not reduced were manual handling injuries, mainly neck and back strain.
The Opposition had this year thwarted the Government's efforts to bring manual handling regulations up to the national standard.
Mrs Henderson said Judge Barlow was wrong in describing RSI as exclusive to Australia.
"It is recognised throughout the world, though known by different names, and is well documented in North America and Europe," she said.
"Other countries are now looking at what Australia has done in order to combat increasing RSI statistics."
Mrs Henderson said that in 1985 the WA Government developed a multi-disciplinary Taskforce which investigated the problem and prepared the preventative strategies.
This led Australia into designing national codes and guidance. A National Code of Practice was now being prepared and was expected to be in place by mid-1993.