Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common type of injury to construction workers, and WorkSafe Victoria is urging builders and contractors to take more preventive measures.
MSDs are most commonly caused by manual handling, such as lifting heavy or awkward loads, or slips and trips while moving around a worksite.
In the past five years, WorkSafe has accepted more than 6200 injury claims made by construction workers for MSDs. Around 60% of those workers needed more than four weeks off work.
WorkSafe Construction Program Manager Dermot Moody said the impact of an MSD can be devastating.
"A soft tissue injury to a back, shoulder or wrist can be long term, debilitating and often career ending," he said.
"The frustrating part is that most of these injuries are easily preventable and don't require a great deal of time or money to reduce the risk."
Moody has urged all building industry employers and contractors to reassess the effectiveness of their injury prevention strategies.
"Don't leave safety to chance or so-called 'common sense'. Be proactive and get appropriate controls in place before an incident occurs rather than after the fact," he said.
WorkSafe Victoria has provided the following tips for preventing musculoskeletal disorders:
- Use mechanical load shifting devices such as cranes, material hoists, forklifts and trolleys to move materials around the site.
- Ensure load shifting equipment is in good order, including ensuring that tyres on trolleys and wheelbarrows are correctly inflated.
- Use job rotation/work variation to reduce exposure to repetitive work, or work that requires significant force.
- Ensure walking surfaces are level, dry and free from mud to prevent trips and falls.
- Install ramps where surface level changes.
- Carry out regular site clean-ups and inspections.