Injury Hotspots Broken Down by Industry and Job

Have you ever wondered what the most common injuries sustained in your industry and specific job are?

WorkSafe Victoria has a useful and informative tool which allows you to find out information about the most common injuries for your job, giving you a sector specific view of harm.

For example construction carpenters face 6 common hazards – manual handling of construction materials, noise, slips,trips and falls, using hand tools, working at ground/floor level, working overhead or above shoulders.

These hazards commonly result in hand/finger injuries, back injuries, shoulder, knee, leg, ear and wrist/forearm injuries, these are called ‘injury hotspots’. The WorkSafe resource provides more advice on avoiding these injury hotspots.

For the construction industry there is also injury hotspot information for concreters, electricians, heating/airconditioning installation, labourers, painters, plasterers, plumbers and roofers.

Find out more at http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/hotspots#/

Worker Injured during Manual Handling Incident

Although most workers, especially in the building industry often underestimate the danger of manual handling incidents, a recent incident involving a plasterer in The ACT is an example of why manual handling hazards need to be awarded the same attention as other hazards on a construction site.

According to an article on SafetyCulture.com.au the plasterer was engaging in work on a housing construction site when he bent over to pick something up, causing him to injure his back.

Read the post which explains what happened:

A 34-year-old plasterer had to be lowered from the second storey of a home construction site, where he was working this morning, with a hydraulic lift.

The ACT Fire and Rescue was called to assist the man because he was not able to use the scaffolding to get down.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said that safety inspectors had been at the site but were not concerned about safety there.

He said that the incident happened when the man bent over to pick up something and his back apparently locked up.

Mr McCabe doesn’t think that there are work safety issues with the incident.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/05/manual-handling-incident-equals-back-pain/

Manual handling injuries are too commonly ignored by workers, causing them to deteriorate over time. Injuries often occur due to wear and tear, built up over time which cause stress on the body,such as the repetitive work of plastering or heavy lifting of bricklayers. These effects often become more disabling as workers age so workers often ignore them when they are occurring, during their youth.

Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations dictate that employers and employees work together to manage manualhandling risks.

Authorities place duties on employers, contractors and employees to manage risks including manual handling risks. As the employer has greater control over the wayin which the work is done, they also have a greater share of theresponsibility for managing the risk.

Manual Handling legislation requires employers and employees to work together and communicate to identify and assess the risk ofinjury arising from manual handling activities at work.

Together employers and workers should consider if it is absolutely necessary to manually lift the load. If it is not, they should consider if it can be lifted using mechanical means instead. Determine whether another worker will be able to assist you anticipate that the load is heavier than you can manage.

Manual handling is not just lifting and carrying loads but can include repetitive activities such as prolonged twisting, stooping, awkward or unbalanced postures, fixed, sustained, rigid, prolonged postures, unvaried, repetitive postures, handling or reaching away from the body, handling heavy or awkward loads or handling that goes on too long without a break.

Workers should remember that only loads which they are physically able to lift should be carried. They must consider its height, weight and overall size before attempting to push, pull or lift it.

 

How Construction Workers in Seattle Stay Healthy

The main cause of sprains and strains is poor manual handling. Unfortunately manual handling at some stage in construction work cannot be avoided however correct handling can reduce injuries. But can sprains and strains be avoided by simply stretching before work, like many athletes and sports people do?

Some construction companies in Seattle are not taking any chances when it comes to workplace injuries especially musculoskeletal injuries that are often experienced by workers engaging in manual activities.

Although unorthodox, the approach by a Seattle Construction company seems to be working well and other construction companies may soon follow the example by also getting workers to engage in stretching exercises each morning before work.

Athletes swear by stretching as a way of increasing their flexibility and sports science has attributed the act with reducing injuries, so why not workers engaged in manual work?

Just before workers pick up tools and begin working, Sellen Construction workers stretch together in an attempt to ward off sprains, strains and soft tissue injuries. The company implemented the stretching 2 years ago and says they have seen a significant drop in the number of injuries.

With the new healthcare reforms introduced by President Obama in The USA, it is expected that other construction companies could possibly soon follow in Sellen’s footsteps.

Read this interesting post from www.King5.com that explains:

Even before the sun comes up, Sellen Construction workers are on the job. It’s back breaking work.

“First thing in the morning, we’re all stiff from the day before,” said worker Charlie Nahorniak.

No wonder injuries are common.

“What didn’t surprise us was the type of injuries we were having. The most were sprains and strains, soft tissue injuries. What did surprise us is that most of those were happening first thing in the morning, very early in the day,” said Frank Mandell, Sellen Project Safety Manager.

So before the first screw is tightened, the first welding torch sparks into action and the first sheets of plywood are hoisted into the air, the group spends a few minutes stretching, doing exercises with names like “tin man,” “airplane” and “ape hangers.”

Not exactly what you’d expect construction workers to be doing on the job.

“At first a lot of them thought that this was the latest fad, you know this is a little ridiculous,” said Mandell, “but it didn’t take long for them to start seeing the benefits of it, start seeing the results.”

Sellen brought in a specialist to custom-design the exercises for the type of lifting and bending their workers do.

“I had a sore back before we started the program, and it hasn’t,” said worker Allen Stoops. “It’s been good.”

“Some of the ones that were complaining about it the most were some of the ones who swear by it the hardest now,” said Mandell.

Source: http://www.king5.com/video/featured-videos/Morning-stretches-help-Seattle-construction-workers-avoid-injury-192172651.html

Watch the Video below:

Link : http://www.king5.com/video/featured-videos/Morning-stretches-help-Seattle-construction-workers-avoid-injury-192172651.html

 

Dangers of Manual Handling in Construction

Manual handling is a practice that occurs on most work sites and especially so in the construction industry.

Poor manual handling is one of the most common hazards that construction workers are confronted  with.  While no site is free from the hazards of manual handling, by knowing how to minimise the risks of manual handling workers can reduce its harmful effect on the body.

Not much attention is given to this type of hazard because it seldom kills or disfigures anyone, but the injuries that occur, although invisible, are often disabling, long term and very costly.

Manual handling is any activity involving the use of muscular force to lift, move, push, pull, carry, hold or restrain any object. Workers in construction that undergo manual handling on a daily basis include for example bricklayers.  It covers more than lifting heavy weights and affects more than just the worker’s back.

Manual handling also includes the repetitive activity seen in bricklaying or plastering. The sustained muscle exertion required to restrain or support a load and the effort needed to maintain the fixed postures that occur in the back and neck while plastering contribute to manual handling injuries.

Injuries often occur due to wear and tear, built up over time which cause stress on the body, such as the repetitive work of plastering or heavy lifting of bricklayers. These effects often become more disabling as workers age so workers ignore them when they are occurring, during their youth.

Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations require employers and employees to work together to manage manual handling risks. The legislation places duties on both employers and employees. As the employer has greater control over the way in which the work is done, they also have a greater share of the responsibility for managing the risk. Manual Handling legislation requires employers and employees to work together and communicate to identify and assess the risk of injury arising from manual handling activities at work.

A proper assessment of the risks will identify the tasks that involve manual handling and their effect on the body. Decide which tasks present a manual handling hazard and the activity it involves. Review incident, injury and first aid reports of incidents that occurred in the past and have a tendency to cause injury. Communicate with workers in determining the difficulty involved with their specific manual handling tasks. Consider all of the risk factors for body stressing in the assessment.

Minimise Risks by putting into place controls that remove or minimise the need for stressful postures, movements and effort while carrying out tasks.

Train employees in manual handling for their specific task and techniques for effective manual handling. Monitor the controls that have been implemented regularly to ensure that they are being correctly utilised and that they are still effective for the task.

Developing a list of manual handling tasks can be quite helpful and can be used as a planning tool to determine which tasks have priority for attention and present the most risk.

Assessing the risk by considering the exposure of workers to  the tasks and the possible effects of that exposure.

Control measures must be determined based on their order of effectiveness in reducing the risk. As with all hazards first try to eliminate the risk completely, this can be done by  altering the workplace design, altering the systems of work used to carry out the task or changing the objects used in manual handling. The tasks you have assessed as high risk require attention first.

If that is not feasible, then the risk must be reduced as far as reasonably possible. Employers have a duty to control the risk of injury.  Some options to consider in developing your solutions include using the risk management approach or consulting designers and manufacturers who supply products. Another method is looking at solutions used by other members of your industry or seeking advice from specialist professionals such as ergonomists or engineers. A possible solution may be for example to carry smaller loads of bricks or use wheel barrows or other method of transport.

Before lifting a load consider if it is absolutely necessary. Can the load be transported using other means such as a wheel barrow or plant or machinery? If it cannot, can a co-worker or co-workers assist you with the load? Only lift a load that you are physically able to carry, consider its height, weight and overall size before attempting to push, pull or lift it.

And most importantly employers must ensure workers on construction sites have received the necessary training. That includes both construction induction training as well as site specific training.

 Posted by Steven Asnicar