Any construction work environment can be hazardous. When thinking about hazards, it’s usually the big things that catch our attention: unprotected trenches, electrocutions, falls. However, there are other ways for workers to get injured that can result in time off to recover or workers’ compensation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for a third of workers’ compensation costs.
In the first part of this two-part article, a Tampa construction lawyer discusses MSDs and how to avoid them.
What are MSDs?
Musculoskeletal disorders are chronic injuries that involve bones, ligaments, and muscles. They are often caused by repetitive motions. Although workers in many different environments can become injured by repetitive motion, construction workers are subject to almost all of the risk factors. Bending, lifting heavy loads, pushing or pulling heavy items, and working in awkward body positions are all common in the construction industry. Doing these actions over and over again with poor posture or improper training can have severe consequences for employee and employer alike.
Examples of MSDs in the construction industry and possible causes:
- Tendonitis: inflamed tendons causing pain and difficulty moving (e.g., swinging a hammer).
- Trigger finger: difficulty moving index finger, the finger can become “stuck” in a bent position (e.g., squeezing a nail gun trigger)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: pain in wrists, numbness, and loss of strength in hands from exposure to vibration or pressure (e.g., operating a jackhammer)
- Bursitis: inflammation of the joints, commonly hip or knee, when fluid-filled sacs become inflamed (e.g., kneeling while installing tile)
- Radiculopathy: pain from a collapsed spinal disc that causes pain to radiate to other body parts (e.g., lifting heavy objects with incorrect posture or without help)
It’s important to teach workers to recognize the onset of MSDs to prevent pain, long recovery times, and missed days at work. In part two of this article, we explain how to recognize and prevent MSDs.
If you have any concerns about workers’ compensation claims, our Tampa construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law can help you. If the State of Florida suspects you are not in full compliance with workers’ compensation laws, they may issue a Stop Work Order.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.