Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) consistently rank as one of the leading types of work-related injury. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about one in three injuries sustained by workers while on the job is an MSD. And while workers in all industries can sustain MSDs, they are most common among construction workers because of the physically taxing, laborious work performed by construction workers. There are steps that construction workers can take, however, to protect themselves from MSDs.
Lift With Your Legs
One of the easiest ways to protect against MSDs in the construction industry is to lift objects with your legs rather than your back. Whether you're lifting a small box or large sheet of drywall, you should never bend your back. Instead, bend your knees so that you can pick up and lift the object without causing unnatural curvature of your spine.
It's also important that you wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE). As a construction worker, you'll probably encounter a variety of hazards on a regular basis. PPE, such as a hard hat, gloves and steel-toe boots, however, can protect you from common hazards, including those attributed to MSDs.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
This tip can help all workers protect against MSDs, but it's particularly useful for construction workers. If you're currently using a handheld screwdriver, for example, try switching to a powered screwdriver or a cordless drill with a screw bit. This is just one example of how to work smarter in the construction industry. Explore other ways to improve your productivity and lower the amount of physical labor required in your work.
Sleep, or lack thereof, can affect your susceptibility to MSDs. Sleep is essential to your physical health because it allows your body to recover and repair damaged muscle tissue. If you don't get the recommended minimum seven hours of sleep at night, though, your body won't have the ability to perform this restoration process, thereby increasing the risk of MSDs and other injuries.
Reporting MSDs that occur in the workplace is important because it allows the employer to make the necessary safety changes to his or her place of business. If multiple workers suffer from low back pain, for instance, the employer may want to adopt a new MSD protection strategy. Otherwise, the underlying hazard will persist, and workers will continue to experience MSDs.