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Musculoskeletal injuries still common on construction sites

Many construction workers in New York and around the country know what it feels like to suffer a strain or sprain. Musculoskeletal injuries are more common in the construction sector than they are in any other industry, and 40 percent of them are caused by workers overexerting themselves. Improved safety regulations and advances in safety equipment have greatly improved construction site safety, but a report released by the Center for Construction Research and Training indicates that more can be done.

Lost wages due to construction site sprains and strains add up to millions of dollars each year, and many of these workplace injuries occurred when workers attempted to lift heavy objects incorrectly. Other awkward body movements such as twisting can also cause this type of injury. More effective training programs and ergonomically designed equipment would do the most to reduce musculoskeletal injuries according to the researchers.

The approximate number of construction workers hurt in this way each year fell from 55,000 to 18,000 between 1992 and 2014, but strains and strains remain a serious problem among older and more experienced workers. Only 6.5 percent of construction-related musculoskeletal injuries were suffered by workers between the ages of 55 and 64 in 1992, but that figure had nearly doubled to 11.5 percent in 2014.

It may also take older workers longer to recover from these injuries, and this may lead to accusations of malingering from employers concerned about soaring overheads and rising workers' compensation premiums. Employers or workers' compensation insurance companies sometimes dispute the claims made by injured or sick workers, and compiling medical evidence can be difficult for those recovering from a debilitating injury. Attorneys with experience in this area could argue on behalf of injured workers during workers' compensation hearings, and they could also help them to gather the medical documentation that will be needed to establish that their injuries are genuine and related to their employment.

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