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Safe-work practices can reduce New York job-site injuries

When New York construction workers enter a job site, the goal is to leave it as healthy as they entered it. But, a job site is a busy place with many dangers for the unwary or distracted. One common set of construction-related injuries that can beset workers is soft-tissue injuries. These are injuries to discs, nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Anyone who has ever had a herniated disc, low-back strain or an upper-body injury like a rotator-cuff issue can attest that soft-tissues injuries are not fun.

Fortunately, soft-tissue injuries can be reduced by following safe-work practices. The first step in doing so is to plan properly. For example, where should materials stored? In short, off the ground, if possible. Placing materials on the ground increases injuries because workers will need to bend and lift the materials, a common trigger for injuries.

Second, materials should be as close to where they will be needed as possible. The closer they are to where they will be used, the less strain workers will need to undergo to get the materials where they need to be.

Another important practice is to lift materials properly. Too often workers do not employ proper lifting and carrying techniques. Faulty techniques can be especially dangerous, when a worker is lifting heavy material. When picking up materials, workers should always bend their knees and push with their legs. Use your legs, not your back, as much as possible.

Another common mistake workers make is to hold materials above their head or to even use their head as a support. Doing so causes significant strain on the shoulder and neck.

Nonetheless, although taking safety precautions is an important step in reducing injuries, it will never eliminate them. Workers hurt at a job site may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced construction-injury attorney.

Source: CDC, "A basic guide for preventing material handling injuries," accessed on July 6, 2015

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