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Trends of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Interventions in the Construction Industry

The newest CPWR Quarterly Data Report (QDR) examines trends in work and non-work related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), the soft-tissue injuries caused by exposure to repetitive or sudden motions, forces, and awkward positions. In 2017, the rate of employer-reported, work-related MSDs in construction was 31.2 cases per 10,000 FTEs, less than one-quarter of 1992’s level. However, about 30% of construction workers self-reported they had low-back pain (work- or non-work-related), and that figure has not changed significantly. Moreover, nearly half of construction workers reported they had one or more MSD symptoms, such as neck pain, joint pain and back pain. Older workers were more likely to suffer work and non-work-related MSDs than younger ones. Among workers age 55 and older who had arthritis or joint pain, 27% said these conditions limited their usual activities.
The new Quarterly Data Report is available on the CPWR website, along with past QDRs.


In order to reduce the risk of these types of injuries, CPWR has created the Best Built Plans program (BBP), which provides resources to plan for safe manual materials handling at each project stage and to use on the job to raise awareness and reinforce safe practices.  The program has recently been updated and improved based on the results of contractor pilot testing.