The hazards of construction work are well known. It is one of the most
dangerous industries to work in and it has one of the highest rates of
workplace fatalities in the country. And while a freak accident can injure
or kill a construction worker in a moment’s notice, perhaps the
most common injury construction workers suffer from develop over time.
What Are Musculoskeletal Disorders?
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries that affect muscles, ligaments,
discs, nerves, and tendons. While they can be caused by a single accident
such as a fall from heights, more commonly they are progressive injuries
that worsen over a number of years.
MSDs account for a quarter of all construction worker injuries. Construction
work often forces the body into uncomfortable positions such as bending,
kneeling and arching the back. Over time, the toll these positions take
on the body and the repetitive motions construction workers are forced
into can cause musculoskeletal disorders.
Some of the most common MSDs are the following:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Can Musculoskeletal Disorders Be Prevented?
Working a long career in the construction industry puts a lot of strain
on the body, so it may seem inevitable that construction workers will
eventually suffer from some sort of MSD. However, there are steps that
can be taken to prevent MSDs or at least reduce their severity.
Below are some methods for helping prevent MSDs:
Mechanization – Where possible, employers should always provide workers with tools
or other machinery that can take the place of completing a physically
demanding task by hand. For example, using power tools rather than hand
tools or using dollies to move heavy materials.
Job Rotation – One of the primary causes of MSDs are repetitive motions. By simply
rotating job responsibilities periodically, workers can avoid repeating
the same tasks every day.
Workplace Design – Designing a workplace in a way that decreases the amount of strain
that is placed on a worker’s body is a very effective way to reduce
the number of MSDs. For example, adjustable workstations allow workers
to perform a job in either a sitting or standing position. A well-designed
workplace also minimizes unnecessary movement of the body’s muscles
Can I Be Compensated If I Suffer a MSD?
If you have suffered a MSD in the workplace, there could be several potential
avenues for you to seek compensation. There are a number of different
factors that will determine your best course of action. For example, laws
vary from state to state. Some states require companies to carry worker’s
compensation insurance, while other states allow companies to privately insure.
Whether or not your employer carries worker’s compensation insurance
will be a key factor in determining how you should seek compensation.
Because of the complexities of the laws regarding workplace injuries,
it is advisable to consult with a work injury attorney about your legal
rights. At Arnold & Itkin, we offer free consultations to all workers
who have suffered an on-the-job injury.
Contact our attorneys today to learn how we can help you.