Soft tissue injuries are injuries to the muscles, discs, tendons, ligaments, nerves and cartilage in the body. They can include back injuries such as a herniated disc and low back strain and upper body injuries such as rotator cuff damage. Soft tissue injuries are a common occurrence at many Michigan worksites and can cause significant pain and disability. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has put together information that can help workers prevent soft tissue injuries on the jobsite.
Employing safe work practices is one way to cut down on the potential for soft tissue injuries. This can include planning where materials that will be used at the site will be kept. Materials shouldn’t be stored too far from where they will be needed since the further away they are the greater the risk of injuries. Placing the material on the ground can also increase the chances of back injuries caused by bending and lifting.
Bending and twisting when lifting heavy material makes workers more susceptible to soft tissue injuries. Workers should practice safe lifting and carrying techniques including not carrying more than 50 pounds at a time. Workers should also remember to hold the material they are carrying close to their body and bend their knees and push up with their legs whenever lifting. When carrying heavy lumber, workers should first lift at one end of the piece and then walk to the center of the lumber while holding it in order to carry it.
Holding building materials over one’s head can be extremely tiring to the shoulders and neck and can cause a soft tissue injury. The proper tools and equipment should be used whenever possible and the head should never be used to support material. Workers should also take a brief break afterwards to allow their muscles and joints to recuperate from the strain.
The proper preventive measures on a job site can help limit the number of soft tissue injuries. However, after first receiving the proper medical care, any Michigan worker who has sustained a soft tissue injury on the job may want to consider speaking with an experienced injury workers’ compensation attorney in order to understand the legal options available.
Source: www.cdc.gov, “A basic guide for preventing manual material handling injuries“, Accessed on June 29, 2015