When most people think of repetitive stress injuries, the first thing that comes to mind is carpal tunnel syndrome. This affliction can lead to a great deal of suffering amongst computer users, but it is not the only type of injury that can result from repetitive motion. In fact, the construction industry experiences one of the highest frequencies of these problems.
A long-term study from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses found that construction work resulted in more repeated strain disorders than all other industries combined. Though incidents continue to decrease over time, the number of cases is still alarming.
What causes these injuries?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, make up about one-third of all cases involving work-related injury and illnesses. These result from excessive strain to any of the following parts of the body:
The duties of construction workers involve frequent heavy lifting, bending and stretching. Couple this with the weight of work belts, along with the repetitive motions involved in tool operation, and you have a strong likelihood for MSDs to develop.
How can working conditions help prevention?
A lack of job security is one of the most inherent problems facing construction workers who suffer from MSDs. The threat of days without pay or termination is enough to prompt many individuals to work through pain. Excessive strain on muscles that are already ailing only serves to exacerbate the injury.
Employers can help by creating less pressurized work environments and providing extensive training on ergonomic practices. It would also be valuable for construction managers to supply detailed information on compensation benefits. This knowledge may encourage more employees to speak up when they are in pain.
If every day of your life involves overwhelming aches, you may be heading towards a repetitive stress injury, if you are not already there. Workers’ compensation allows you to get the medical treatment you need without having to fear the stress of lost wages.