Does your construction company need an ergonomics program?
Some of the most common injuries in construction occur when workers lift, stoop, kneel, twist, grip, stretch, reach overhead, or work in other awkward positions to perform a task. These musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) can include back problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff tears, sprains, and strains.
There may be a particularly urgent need for an ergonomics program at your site if:
- Injury records or workers’ compensation claims show excessive hand, arm, and shoulder problems; low back pain; or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Workers often say that some tasks are causing aches, pains, or soreness, especially if these symptoms do not go away after a night’s rest.
- Other businesses similar to yours have high rates of work-related MSDs.
Effective ergonomics programs have included the following elements:
- Employer commitment of time, personnel, and resources
- Someone in charge of the program who is authorized to make decisions and institute change
- A system to identify and analyze risk factors
- Worker and management training
- Medical care for injured workers
- Maintaining good injury records
- Regular evaluation of the program’s effectiveness.
For additional information on developing an ergonomics program, see Elements of Ergonomics Programs (NIOSH Pub. No. 97-117).
Source: Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Construction Workers. Click here to access this NIOSH booklet.