Equipment and vehicle accidents reflect two of the most common causes of serious injuries in construction, as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overexertion and toxic exposure, however, also cause severely disabling medical conditions.
According to the CDC, construction workers can spend nearly half of their time handling materials. The CDC also noted that overexertion is a major cause of the most common work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Symptoms and causes of overexertion
Recognizing the warning signs of overexertion may prevent severe physical harm. It may also prove that an injury or medical condition is work-related. Repeatedly carrying, pushing and pulling heavy tools and materials, for example, may lead to severe back injuries. Evidence showing an injury or condition is work-related may determine the outcome of a workers’ compensation claim.
As noted by WebMD, the pain felt in the shoulders, knees or back indicates the most common overexertion injuries. Performing repetitive motions with heavy or worn tools adds stress to muscles, joints and tendons. If a task causes chest pain or a high pulse rate, an injury may require medical treatment to prevent it from causing permanent cardiovascular damage.
Exposure to toxins and noise
Construction sites often expose workers to asbestos, chemicals or loud noise. As noted by EHS Today, asbestos may cause mesothelioma and other life-threatening conditions. Symptoms of asbestos exposure include chest pain, fluid in the lungs and a constant cough.
Skin contact with dangerous solvents represents another construction hazard and can cause severe burns or rashes. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, exposure to unreasonable noise levels may lead to permanent hearing loss.
If left untreated, a work-related ailment may develop into a serious medical condition. Construction site employees face high on-the-job risks and may require workers’ compensation when experiencing symptoms of a potentially catastrophic medical issue.