While often overlooked, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are common construction industry injuries that can result from tasks that are performed with poor posture, without break, or involve heavy loads. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34 percent of all lost workdays reported to the bureau are due to work-related MSDs.
Preventing MSDs not only makes sense for worker satisfaction but also increases worker productivity and your business’ profitability. Most MSD prevention tactics aren’t costly to implement. Putting these simple practices to work can help workers prevent injuries and reduce workers’ compensation claims:
- Short breaks
- Varying tasks
- Proper lifting technique
- Tools for every size of employee
- Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) like knee pads and gloves
- Electric or pneumatic tools to reduce physical exertion
Worker education is an important step in the prevention of injury. There are training plans that can help you and your workers. The CDC has ergonomic guidelines for the construction industry specifically. You may even consider having an ergonomics specialist come to your project site and help you put together a plan. However, even with the best plans, some workers are more susceptible to MSDs than others or don’t adhere to safety practices.
Teaching Workers to Notice the Signs of MSDs
If workers are able to recognize the onset of what could turn into an MSD, it could help them prevent a long-term injury. Even one worker calling out of work due to an injury could prevent your project from being finished on time.
Early warning signs can be:
- Reduced mobility
Each year MSDs cost employers up to $20 billion in direct costs by the estimate of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If one of your workers gets injured on the job or makes a claim against your business, it’s vital that you get reliable legal representation. The team at Cotney Construction Law handles workers’ compensation claims, employment law, and OSHA issues.
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.