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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Sprains and Strains in Construction/Laying Stone

Each year in the U.S., 31,000 construction workers seek

medical attention due to sprains and strains

suffered on the job.

These injuries happen when the human body is forced

to work beyond its limits.

Lifting, pulling, pushing, reaching, bending,

and other common construction activities can cause

these injuries.

The pain resulting from these injuries can last

a lifetime and affect construction workers' lives

at work and at home.

But these injuries can be prevented.

This video shows how overexertion at construction

sites can lead to worker injuries.

The video will also show what employers

must do so that the work can be done more safely.

Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe

workplace and required protective equipment.

You'll see that taking the right protective steps

can help prevent these injuries.

An experienced stonemason and her tender were using

large stone pieces to build a walkway for a new

two-story townhome.

A concrete slab was already in place, and the

workers were putting the stone on top of the slab.

The tender was mixing the mortar in five-gallon

buckets and carrying the mortar to the mason.

After the mason spread some of the mortar onto the

concrete slab, the workers bent over at the waist

to pick up one of the heavy stone pieces.

They kneeled down and hunched over to lay the stone

piece on top of the mortar.

After several days of carrying these heavy loads

and kneeling and hunching while doing their work,

both of these workers are experiencing severe

lower back and knee pain.

Let's look at the events leading up to these

injuries, and see how they could have been prevented.

As before, the tender is mixing mortar.

This time, a cement mixer is being used and the

tender wheels the mortar over to the stonemason.

The stone pieces have also been placed off the

ground and both workers are now wearing knee pads.

After the mason spreads some of the mortar, the

workers pick up and lay one of the stone pieces

into the wet mortar.

Making these types of small changes in work

activities can prevent painful injuries.

This example shows the importance of employers

using OSHA's ergonomics guidelines.

These are guidelines designed so workers

can avoid stress and injury to their bodies.

These types of injuries are preventable.

Follow OSHA's guidelines at work sites.

By following the guidelines, workers can avoid

suffering a lifetime of pain from these injuries.

If you would like more information,

contact OSHA at

or 1-800-321-OSHA or 6742