Construction work is a physically demanding job, and a possible link has been found between the timing and length of a construction shift and the occurrence and severity of disabling injuries. In 2019, almost 10,000 construction worker injuries and illnesses were reported in Pennsylvania. The majority of injuries occurred to the upper and lower extremities, however injuries to the torso and head are also common. Of the reported construction injuries, 34.7% were sprains and strains, 20.6% were laceration or puncture wounds, and 13% were contusions and bruisings. Almost one third were caused by being struck against or by objects, and joint and pinched nerves were also common. However, overexertion was the greatest cause for construction injuries in Pennsylvania in 2019, resulting in 2,288 worker’s claim reports.
A recent study in the Journal of Occupational Health analyzing construction worker’s compensation claims finds traumatic injuries are mostly likely to occur during the first four hours of a person’s shift. The study suggests that mid-shift rests can help rejuvenate workers. It also highlights another increase in injuries during the eight and final hour of a shift. Future studies are suggested to both research why these first four hours pose a greater risk, and how work-breaks may decrease construction injury frequency and severity.
The timing of an individual’s shift was also found to affect the severity of construction worker injuries. Persons working after 6 p.m. run a greater risk of receiving severe injuries compared to their daylight counterparts.
Being aware of construction workplace injuries is important regardless of age. In 2019, the median age for construction worker injuries in Pennsylvania was 40.9. Knowing when workplace accidents are more likely to occur, and when they can be most severe, is smart and practical information to keep in mind while on shift.
At Dugan & Associates, we stay apprised of current workplace studies and reports. Research into specific industries and creating these informative blogs is a type of insight we are proud to provide to our clients.