Construction workers and back injuries

Construction workers and back injuries

If you work construction in New Jersey, no one needs to tell you that your back takes a beating every day. Because of the type of work you do, you constantly must lift, carry or otherwise move heavy and/or unwieldy pieces of equipment and material. What may surprise you to learn, however, is that approximately one-fourth of all on-the-job injuries come from musculoskeletal conditions.

Not surprisingly, construction workers like you have the highest risk of developing a musculoskeletal condition and therefore suffering an injury stemming from it.

Careers hard on backs

Your risk is highest if your specific job is one of the following:

  • Jackhammer operator
  • Drywall installer
  • Stonemason or bricklayer
  • Floor or wall tile installer
  • Roofer

All of these positions put incredible strain on your spine and back muscles.

The extraordinary weights you lift

Since lifting and carrying heavy equipment and materials is part of your daily work routine, you likely have never stopped to think about just how much weight you lift as a construction worker. Therefore, the following example may be a real eye-opener for you.

The underlying assumptions are that you are a bricklayer who lifts 38-pound bricks about 200 times each workday. The total poundage you lift breaks out as follows:

  • 3.8 tons per day
  • 19 tons per week
  • 950 tons per year

Given those jaw-dropping figures, now you better understand why construction work ranks right at the top of workers who suffer the most back injuries. Not only are these injuries painful, but they can also put you out of work for substantial periods while you recover from them and cause your medical bills to skyrocket.

In just one year, 2014, construction workers had to take an average of eight days off work for each injury and accumulated $46 million in lost wages. A skilled workers’ comp attorney can help you recoup some of the costs of missing work.