Although U.S. construction workers are safer now than they have been in a quarter of a century, the fact is these professionals are still at high risk for work-related injuries to their nerves, joints, tendons, and muscles. That’s according to a new study by The Center for Construction Research and Training, headquartered in Maryland.
These types of injuries, most commonly in the form of strains and sprains, typically happen because employees are overworked. They are also exposed to excessive amounts of twisting, bending, vibrations, and situations when they need to contort their bodies into awkward positions. Resulting conditions are known as “work-related musculoskeletal disorders,” or WMSDs for short. The public doesn’t hear much about these conditions, despite their pervasiveness among those in construction, since they don’t make for punchy headlines. You’re far more likely to hear about a major fall or a collision involving large vehicles than you are to hear about a worker who suffered an elbow sprain.
Still, the effect of this on individual workers and the industry as a whole is undeniable. The study revealed the loss of wages for private construction workers – both salaried and hourly – was $46 million in 2014, the most recent year for which figures were available. And while there are workers in many different injuries who are at risk for musculoskeletal injuries, workers employed in construction steadily have the highest risk of them all.