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 and joints.
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.