<< Back to Prevention Video (v-Tool): Sprains and Strains in Construction


Each year in the U.S., 31,000 construction workers seek medical attention due to sprains and strains suffered on the job. These injuries happen when the human body is forced to work beyond its limits. Lifting, pulling, pushing, reaching, bending, and other common construction activities can cause these injuries. The pain resulting from these injuries can last a lifetime and affect construction workers' lives at work and at home. But these injuries can be prevented.

This video shows how overexertion at construction sites can lead to worker injuries. The video will also show what employers must do so that the work can be done more safely. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace and required protective equipment. You'll see that taking the right protective steps can help prevent these injuries.

An experienced commercial electrician was wiring a newly built commercial building. He had been doing this kind of work for several years. While standing on a ladder that was too short for the job, he pulled long runs of a heavy gauge wire. He then attached the wiring above his head to the ceiling. The job involves awkward pulling movements while reaching overhead.

After several days on the job, the stress on the electrician's arms, neck, back, and shoulders has become too much. As a result, the pain the electrician feels has affected his ability to do the work.

Let's look at the events leading up to these injuries, and see how they could have been prevented. As before, the electrician is attaching wiring to the ceiling.

But this time, he is standing on an elevated platform that is the right height for the job. This reduces his overhead movements, and prevents stress to his body. Also, as he attaches the wiring, he is now using a mechanical wire puller to get the wire he needs. This way, he doesn't hurt himself by pulling the wire by hand and straining his body as he did before. Making these types of small changes in work activities can prevent painful injuries.

This example shows the importance of employers using OSHA's ergonomics guidelines. These are guidelines designed so workers can avoid stress and injury to their bodies. These types of injuries are preventable.

Follow OSHA's guidelines at work sites. By following the guidelines, workers can avoid suffering a lifetime of pain from these injuries.

If you would like more information, contact OSHA at www.osha.gov or 1-800-321-OSHA that's 1-800-321-6742.