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Sprains and strains remain a problem for the construction sector

Stricter safety regulations, more effective worker training and better tools and equipment have made construction sites in New Jersey and around the country far safer in recent years. However, the number of musculoskeletal injuries suffered at these workplaces is still a major problem, according to research from the Center for Construction Research. After studying workplace injury data collected from 1992 and 2014, researchers determined that construction workers are more likely to suffer a strain or sprain than workers in all other industrial sectors combined.

A great many construction-related musculoskeletal injuries are caused by overexertion. In 2014, such injuries cost workers about $46 million in lost wages. These injuries were most often suffered by workers who lifted heavy objects incorrectly, but the twisting and bending that is common on cramped construction projects was also cited as a frequent cause of sprains and strains.

The study also revealed the kind of workers particularly prone to musculoskeletal injuries. While the total number of construction site sprains and strains fell from 55,000 per year to just 18,000 per year during the time studied, the percentage of workers over the age of 55 who suffered such injuries nearly doubled from 6.4 percent to 11.5 percent between 1992 and 2014.

Someone who has been injured while on the job may opt to file for workers' compensation. Employers sometimes dispute these claims because they are worried about increased insurance costs, and this could be especially true when the injuries involved seem minor and malingering is suspected. Attorneys with experience in this area may counter such arguments by compiling medical evidence that shows how debilitating these injures can be to those who perform physically demanding work.

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