Repetitive Stress Injuries in Construction Workers

workers injury
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: January 4, 2024
  • Updated On: January 4, 2024

Working in the construction industry is not without its risks. Every day, workers must go through the same motions or stand in awkward positions, working long hours. This can result in stress given to specific muscle groups or parts of the body due to their overuse. They are commonly referred to as Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI), Repetitive Motion Injuries, or Repetitive Strain Injuries.

These injuries cause construction workers to lose many workdays during the course of a year. According to OSHA, around 3.8 out of every 100 workers become injured due to RSI during their careers in the construction industry.

How Construction Work Leads to Repetitive Stress Injuries

Construction work often includes repeated lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling, which can cause strain and injury. Some of the common injuries include bursitis, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Since these conditions often develop very slowly, employees can have difficulty claiming compensation for them. Construction workers also have to deal with heat, cold, and other unfavorable elements during their work.

Some of the most common repetitive injuries involve injuries to the back, joints, fingers, and wrists. 

Back Injuries

When construction workers have to pick up heavy objects, this may involve bending, twisting, and stretching motions that are repeated several times. This causes pressure on the spine, especially if the person has to be in awkward positions during the course of work.

Joint Injuries

One of the most common joint injuries is tendonitis, which is a strain on the tendons of the body due to repeated exertion and lack of rest. This can result in long-term damage over time. Pressure on the tendons in joints can result in a breakdown of fibers in elbows, knees, and shoulders.

Finger and Wrist Injuries

Grabbing and twisting motions during repairs or while installing fixtures can cause carpal tunnel syndrome by inflaming the tendons in the wrist. Trigger finger injuries like Raynaud’s Syndrome, tendonitis, and nerve damage due to blood circulation problems are common due to vibrations from drills, nail guns, and jackhammers.

Arm Injuries

Pressing tools against the body or forcing arms into awkward positions can create strains. Tennis elbow in forearms and thoracic outlet syndrome in upper body due to nerve impingement 

Neck and Shoulder Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries can be caused by a strain in the neck and the upper back due to holding objects over the head for long periods. It may result in permanent restrictions for lifting weights and even require corrective surgery.

The Road to Recovery

Employers are liable to compensate the construction worker for repetitive strain injury if they do not provide protective equipment, do not give workers proper training, and have unsafe working conditions. Employers are also liable to pay permanent disability benefits if repetitive stress injury makes it impossible for an employee to earn a living or is forced into early retirement. If you have a problem proving employer liability for RSI-related compensation, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys of DiMarco Araujo Montevideo in Riverside.

Avatar photo
Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.