In 2014, musculoskeletal injuries like sprains and strains cost construction workers around the country about $46 million in lost wages. A report released by the Maryland-based Center for Construction Research and Training suggests that this type of injury is extremely common on construction sites, and overexertion is the most common cause. Minnesota workers can suffer these injuries while bending over to pick up heavy weights or twisting in confined spaces, and the back is the part of the body most often affected.
Improvements in training protocols and the introduction of stricter regulations and more advanced safety gear has helped to reduce the number of construction-related musculoskeletal injuries from approximately 55,000 in the early 1990s to only 18,000 in 2014, but far more can be done according to the research team behind the report. They say that sprains and strains could be reduced still further if the tools and equipment used by construction workers was selected based on ergonomic as well as practical considerations.
The report, which was published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, reveals that experience is no safeguard against musculoskeletal injuries. The percentage of these workplace injuries suffered by construction workers between the ages of 55 and 64 increased from 6.4 percent to 11.5 percent between 1992 and 2014, and workers who had been on the job for five years or longer were more likely to be injured than their less experienced colleagues.
These injuries can leave those who perform physically demanding work unable to earn a paycheck for prolonged periods. The Minnesota workers’ compensation program is designed to help them to pay their medical bills and make ends meet until they are able to rejoin to the workforce, but the application process can seem daunting to those not familiar with the paperwork involved. Attorneys with experience in this area could assist injured workers during the claims process and help them to compile the medical evidence required.