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November 30, 2017
OSHA construction roundtable addresses ergonomics

OSHA’s Alliance Program Construction Roundtable is a forum for employers to share information and address challenges. Participants represent organizations in OSHA’s construction alliance program. In a recent blog post, Dr. John W. Mroszczyk provided an update on the work of the group and shared statistics about ongoing challenges the industry faces.

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Mroszczyk, president of Northeast Consulting Engineers Inc., is the representative of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) on the roundtable. He noted that 50 percent of all OSHA inspections are conducted on construction projects.

Ergonomics was a hot topic at the most recent roundtable. Scott Earnest, a safety and health expert from NIOSH, highlighted a number of relevant facts related to construction injuries and ergonomics:

  • Among construction workers, musculoskeletal disorders are a significant portion of nonfatal injuries and are a major cause of functional impairment.
  • Each year, construction companies lose highly skilled and experienced workers to nonfatal injuries.
  • From 1985 to 2015, the average age of construction workers jumped 6.5 years.
  • The percentage of workers in the 45-64 range, and those older than 65, is on the rise and is expected to continue.

Earnest described a number of strategies to address these issues. Measures include giving employees a say in their work schedule, conditions, limits, and tasks; self-paced work; self-directed rest breaks; and fewer repetitive tasks. “It is also important to match work tasks to worker ability and to avoid prolonged sedentary work,” added Mroszczyk.

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