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Materials handling injury: a prevalent, but preventable problem

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Jan 19, 2017 3:42:59 PM

The construction industry is essential to the New York economy, as it employs thousands of people. Unfortunately, in some situations, workers find themselves retiring early due to injuries. One such injury that may end a construction career is trauma resulting from materials handling.

How does it happen? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that there are certain circumstances that may increase the chance of sustaining materials handling injuries. Where construction materials are stored may be a contributing factor. Storing items below a person’s belt level or far away from the job site may be hazardous to a worker’s health. This might make it difficult for a person to pick up and carry objects. While lifting and transporting items, a worker may move in an incorrect manner that is conducive to injury. This includes carrying materials far away from the body or over the head for a long period of time, jerking and twisting the back, and holding objects that are awkward and unbalanced. These types of movements may immediately or eventually cause painful injuries to the nerves, discs, ligaments, cartilage and muscles. 

How can it be prevented? The Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America provides suggestions as to how to mitigate materials handling risks. Construction employees and managers should be trained to understand and recognize what materials handling injuries are. Workers should be taught how to correctly stretch before lifting an item. If a company is able, it should provide employees with protective clothing, lighter materials and more ergonomically friendly tools. Also, staff members should know when it is necessary to ask for help with heavy objects.

The construction industry depends on capable, healthy workers. Companies and employees alike should take steps to create a safer work environment.

Topics: Construction Accidents

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