Construction worker injury rates are declining

Construction workers in the New York City Metro area are a lot safer today than they were 25 years ago. According to a report, the number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in that industry declined from about 55,000 in 1992 to slightly more than 18,000 in 2014. Despite the overall decline in WMSDs, work-related strains and sprains are still a significant problem in the construction field.

WMSDs affect older workers at higher rates than younger workers, and researchers say that the aging construction workforce is part of the reason WMSDs are still a significant safety concern. In 1992, workers who sustained WMSDs took about eight days off the job, but that recovery period increased to 13 days in 2014. Researchers say that the longer recovery periods may be related to the aging workforce, the severity of injuries and the lack of limited duty jobs.

Construction laborers sustain the highest number of WMSDs each year. However, the rates of injury are highest in people who work as construction helpers, sheet metal workers, heating and air-conditioning mechanics and cement masons. A researcher with the Center for Construction Research and Training says that the overall injury rates among construction workers have declined because of intervention efforts and changes to recordkeeping requirements imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

While a construction worker who was injured on the job may be eligible to apply for workers' compensation benefits, the amounts received may be insufficient to cover the full costs of recovery. However, if it can be demonstrated that the injury was due to the negligence of a non-employer third party, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment, an attorney might suggest a separate lawsuit filed against that person or company.

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