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Construction workers and musculoskeletal injuries

Construction workers in North Carolina and throughout the country are more likely to suffer from joint, nerve, muscle and tendon injuries than people in other industries. A study that appeared in Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported that in 2014, work-related musculoskeletal disorders cost workers in private construction jobs $46 million in wages.

Workers might be injured due to bending and twisting or awkward postures on the job. Exposure to vibrations and overwork may also contribute to their frequency. There have been significant improvements over the last 25 years, and WMSDs decreased to just over 18,000 in 2014 from 55,000 in 1992. Other types of injuries decreased as well. However, the study researchers say that there is still room for improvement. Older workers and workers who had been on the job more than five years were at greater risk for these injuries. The average amount of time away from work after such an injury also rose from 8 days in 1992 to 13 days in 2014. One of the researchers attributed this to an older workforce taking longer to recover.

One of the study researchers says that the incidence of WMSDs could be further reduced with better ergonomics at construction sites. Other solutions might be using machinery to move heavier objects and getting help from co-workers.

An on-the-job injury can be devastating for a construction worker and their family. The loss in wages combined with medical expenses can be overwhelming. However, victims may be eligible to apply for workers’ compensation even if their employer says they are not. Thy might want to speak to an attorney about the situation so that they understand their rights and the benefits to which they might be entitled.

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