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Why Construction Workers Have Such a High Incidence of Back Injuries

Personal Injury Lawyer

As a construction worker, you know the stress and strain your job puts on your back. What you may not realize, however, is that construction workers have a higher incidence of back injuries than any other group. A full 30% of construction workers nationwide miss work each year due to a back injury.

A personal injury lawyer such as Daniel E. Stuart at Daniel E. Stuart P.A. can help you understand more about construction site injuries and negligence law. 

While any construction job poses a risk of back injury, you face an elevated risk if you work as one of the following:

  • Mason
  • Bricklayer
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Carpenter
  • Pipe-fitter
  • Roofer
  • Drywall installer
  • Tile installer
  • Jackhammer operator

Back Injury Causes

As you might expect, the constant strain your job puts on your back, especially your lower back, almost ensures that back pain likely will become your constant companion. Furthermore, your back seldom has sufficient time to completely heal from one minor back injury before another one exacerbates it. Consequently, the longer you work construction, the more likely you will suffer a major back injury.

Specific movements that lead to back injuries include the following:

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Lifting
  • Lowering
  • Carrying
  • Bending
  • Twisting
  • Turning

Enlightening Weight Example

In all likelihood, you fail to realize the extraordinary cumulative weight your job requires you to lift. The following example may shock you. For purposes of this example, assume you’re a bricklayer who lifts around 200 bricks during a normal shift. Also, assume that each brick weighs 38 pounds. The resulting weights you lift:

  • 3.8 tons each day, more than a large car, compact truck or SUV
  • 19 tons each week, half again as much as a school bus
  • 950 tons each year, almost as much as a fully loaded cargo ship

Minimizing Your Risk

There are things you can do to minimize your risk of back injury, including the following:

  • Stretch your back and leg muscles before each shift.
  • Wear a back brace whenever lifting.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Obtain coworker help or use a dolly or hoist whenever you must lift something weighing 50 pounds or more.
  • Take adequate breaks between lifting jobs.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Ice your back when you get home.
  • Ask your spouse or partner to massage your back before you go to bed.

Getting Compensation

Unfortunately, despite your best minimization efforts, you’re still likely to suffer at least one back injury during your construction career. When it occurs, your wisest strategy is to consult an experienced local construction accident lawyer who can help you file your workers’ compensation claim, plus advise you of the possibility of suing your employer as well.

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