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Common California Construction Site Injuries - IV

Today's workers' compensation defense post will continue to explore the topic of common injuries suffered by employees on construction sites. Please see "Common California Construction Site Injuries - III" for more information.

Visit any construction site around the state of California, and you will see workers performing a variety of physically challenging tasks requiring them to kneel, crouch, bend over or stoop forward for a prolonged period. While these types of actions are a vital element of job performance, they can also result in potentially debilitating injuries to the knees or lower back, decreased production and increased legal fees.

However, employers who are aware of these potential knee and lower back injuries can take steps to implement the necessary safety measures, saving their organization both time and money.

The following safety measures, if implemented correctly, can reduce the incidence and/or duration of the aforementioned construction site injuries.

Safety Measures

User-friendly Materials

If economically feasible and permitted by the client, the use of certain "user-friendly" building materials can have a significant impact on knee and lower back injuries.

What exactly are "user-friendly" materials?

User-friendly materials are those that can be handled by workers without extensive exertion or repetitive motion, and which minimize uncomfortable body posture.

Please note, such an action is generally subject to approval by engineers, architects, contractors, clients, etc.

User-friendly Tools

Another potential method of reducing the number of serious knee and lower back injuries is to implement "user-friendly" construction tools and devices, meaning those that reduce the need for workers to use the floor as an improvised workbench.

The following tools/devices can help eliminate the need for workers to unnecessarily bend over, kneel, squat or crouch:

  • Tables/workbenches
  • Sawhorses
  • Tools with extension handles

Again, such an action is generally subject to approval by engineers, architects, contractors, clients, etc.

In the event floor-level work must be performed, an employer should consider supplying workers with knee and elbow pads. Mandatory rest periods can also help prevent knee and lower back injuries.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal or medical advice.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ... 

Related Resources:

Simple Solutions for Lifting, Holding and Handling Materials (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

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