Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Construction workers face many physical risks

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Construction workers in Virginia and throughout the country are at a high risk for tendon, muscle and joint injuries. This was the finding of a study that estimated that full-time and wage construction workers lost $46 million in wages in 2014. Many of the injuries occur because workers are exposed to vibrations and must bend and twist in awkward positions. They may also get hurt due to age or being overworked.

According to the study, back injuries accounted for more than 40 percent of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Overall, the number of WMSDs dropped from 55,000 in 1992 to just over 18,000 in 2014. The study leader says that this may be due to intervention efforts and changes in recordkeeping mandated by OSHA. However, she also cautioned that the drop could also be due to the underreporting of accidents by employers.

Although the number of injuries dropped, the average time away from work to recover from them increased. In 1992, workers missed eight days on average to recover from a WMSD. In 2014, that number increased to 13 days. Injuries were more common among older employees and those who had worked more than five years with the company. Workers between the ages of 55 and 64 accounted for 11.5 percent of all injuries, which was up from 6.4 percent in 1992.

Employees who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Benefits may be permanent or temporary depending on the scope of the injury. An attorney may assist those who have questions about their cases or have had workers' compensation claims denied. Workers who are hurt on the job are generally entitled to the cost of medical treatments and a portion of their salaries while out of work.

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