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Six Common Long-Term Injuries in Construction (And How to Mitigate Them)

While a job in the construction industry can be enjoyable and lucrative, various long-term injuries can occur due to the manual nature of the work.

Let’s take a look at six common long-term injuries in construction and what you can do to mitigate them.

1. Back Injuries

Back injuries are common long-term problems within the construction industry, due to the consistently heavy strains placed on workers’ backs when lifting materials or handling machinery.

Regular demands on your spine can culminate in severe back issues that could potentially be lifelong ailments. To prevent such ailments from becoming a long-term concern, you should ensure proper body mechanics when lifting objects. Use your legs for power instead of straining your back.

Also, consider using mechanical aids like forklifts for moving heavier materials around. Regular physical exercises that strengthen your core muscles can further offer protection against persistent back injuries.

2. Repetitive Stress Injury

Repetitive stress injury, commonly referred to as RSI, is a frequent issue in the construction industry. It typically affects areas like your neck, arms, or back.

Several jobs causing repetitive stress injury abound in this sector due to the demanding, repeated actions that are often required, such as lifting heavy materials or continuous hammering.

To mitigate RSI’s impact, it would be beneficial to regularly switch tasks, thus avoiding incessant repetition of the same movement. Regular breaks are also crucial to help relieve muscles and joints.

Furthermore, using proper equipment and techniques for each specific task could significantly reduce your risk.

3. Joint Injuries

Joint injuries, particularly in the knees and shoulders, are frequent long-term issues faced by construction workers. Constant kneel-down activities or overhead work can lead to gradual wear and decay of your joints, potentially resulting in lasting impairments.

Preventive measures for joint injuries include wearing appropriate safety gear like knee pads when carrying out tasks that require prolonged kneeling. Regular stretching exercises to flex your joints can further assist in reducing the stress on them.

If possible, limit overhead work to prevent excessive strain on shoulder joints.

4. Fractures

In construction, long-term injuries can often result from accidents like falls or being struck by equipment. That can lead to fractures, which may take a long time to fully heal. In some cases, fractures can lead to lifelong complications.

To minimize the incidence of fractures on construction sites, safety measures should be strictly enforced. That would include adequate training on the safe use of tools and machinery, wearing protective gear like safety helmets and always following established safety guidelines and regulations.

5. Bursitis

Bursitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of small fluid-filled cushions called bursae that provide a smooth surface for joints to move on. Activities involving frequent kneeling or climbing ladders in construction can aggravate these bursae over time.

To reduce the risk of developing bursitis, use protective padding such as knee pads when doing tasks that require kneeling. Regularly changing your body position can help alleviate pressure on the affected areas.

Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight can contribute to lessening overall joint stress that could lead to bursitis.

6. Spinal Cord Injuries

Lastly, spinal cord injuries are serious long-term issues that can arise from accidents in construction settings. Spinal cord injuries often result from falls from great heights, accidents involving heavy machinery, or incidents where a worker is struck by falling objects.

The keys to minimizing spinal cord injuries are adherence to health and safety protocols and proper use of protective equipment.

For instance, safety harnesses should be employed when working at heights and helmets should always be worn to protect against falling objects. Regular training on machine operations and accident-responsive measures can further prevent such devastating injuries.


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