Many construction workers injure their muscles, tendons, joints, or ligaments as the workers are trying to perform their jobs. These types of injuries are called work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) if they happen due to the performance of work tasks. These injuries can cause construction workers to miss an average of 13 days work, according to Fox News. In comparison, in 1992, construction workers who suffered from WMSDs would miss around eight days of work.
Missed work can create financial hardship for a construction worker. Getting the costs of work-related musculoskeletal disorders treated can also be very expensive.
Provided you can prove your injuries were work-related, you should not have to pay for the costs of this care on your own and you should be entitled to benefits for loss of wages and/or temporary or permanent disability. A workers' compensation lawyer can provide assistance in dealing with work-injury claims arising from work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders have been a problem for a long time. In 1992, approximately 55,000 construction workers experienced WMSDs each year. In 2014, approximately 18,000 construction workers experienced WMSDs. This apparent big drop isn't actually as good as the numbers originally seem to suggest, since changes to OSHA reporting rules and underreporting of work-related musculoskeletal disorders help to explain why there are so many less workers with WMSDs today.
Even though there are fewer workers than in the past who develop musculoskeletal disorders due to performing work tasks, this type of injury still accounts for about one out of four non-fatal construction injuries. This type of injury also leads to $46 million in costs and losses annually, with costs calculated by things like adding up lost productivity and medical treatment expenses.
Overexertion is the leading reason workers get WMSDs. For example, lifting items that are too heavy could cause damage to the soft tissues of the body. The back is one of the body parts most likely to be hurt, and about 40 percent of workers with work-related musculoskeletal disorders develop back injuries. Back injuries can be persistent, and can forever impact working ability and necessary medical care.
Employers must be aware of risks of musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers. Steps can be taken to try to reduce the chances of injury. For example, employers can make sure that employees are provided with training so they can lift properly and follow best practices for ergonomic safety in the workplace. Employers could also consider investing in machinery to move particularly heavy items, rather than having workers overexert themselves in order to pick up heavier items at work.
Employees also need to know the risks to try to do what they can to avoid harm, and must know their rights in case something happens to them. If you get hurt on-the-job or when doing required duties connected to work tasks, you should be covered by workers' compensation for any injuries that you sustain.