Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the most common nonfatal injuries in construction, occurring more frequently in construction than in most other industries. Construction safety programs typically focus on traumatic injuries and rarely address ergonomic hazards. This project presents data from a gap analysis that is driving an ongoing intervention to incorporate MSD prevention into an existing safety program.Methods
Using data from three large construction projects, we examined differences in annual injury records for MSD compared to other common hazards (falls, struck by, electrocution), frequency of hazards noted on daily pre-task safety assessment forms (PTSA), and topics presented in weekly safety trainings.Results
26% of recorded injuries were MSD, primarily from lifting, and similar to the proportions from falls (26%) and ”struck bys” (32%). However, only 3 of 152 weekly safety trainings related to lifting. PTSA forms showed that workers commonly recognised and recorded potential hazards from falls (40%), struck bys (47%), and lifting (41%) but rarely recognised other MSD risks such as poor posture (9%). When recognised, adequate hazard controls were usually described for falls (96%) and struck bys (65%), but less often for lifting and other MSD risks (45%).Conclusions
Despite having many musculoskeletal injuries, the studied safety program paid little attention to ergonomic training, hazard recognition, and abatement compared to other types of hazards. Our ongoing intervention incorporates ergonomic surveillance, risk assessment, and consistent monitoring of controls into the overall safety management system. Initial results of worksite audits and delivery of the modified program will be presented.