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How does overexertion cause construction accidents?

When people think of construction accidents, what are the first causes that come to mind? Falls, electrocution and defective equipment are several. However, overexertion is a major risk factor for construction workers. Overexertion accidents may not get as attention as other incidents, but they do occur often. In fact, overexertion is the cause of many nonfatal and fatal construction accidents in New York each year. 

Contractors in this industry work long hours. They hold, pull, twist, lift, push, turn, carry and use heavy items and tools while performing physically demanding and strenuous job tasks. Their work often requires them to push their bodies beyond their capacity. Overexertion can cause serious and crippling injuries. Sprains, strains and soreness often occur in the back, knees, neck, shoulders, arms and wrist. Overexertion can occur in a single instant, or it may be the result of repeated strenuous activity.

Signs of overexertion

Many workers mistakenly believe their discomfort and soreness are normal, but these are actually warning signs that their body is sending to prevent overexertion. Recognizing the symptoms of overexertion could help workers to know when to get immediate treatment to avoid further injury.

  •  Fatigue
  •  Irritability
  •  Increase in work mistakes
  •  Rapid heartbeat
  •  Dizziness
  •  Trouble breathing
  •  Dehydration 

The above symptoms might not seem serious, but they usually indicate that a rest break from strenuous activity is necessary. When workers are tired, dizzy and in danger of burning out, they are more likely to have accidents and end up with additional injuries from falling, dropping objects, taking shortcuts, misusing heavy machinery, using defective equipment and failing to stay alert to potential hazards in the workplace.

These types of injuries are not always avoidable in the construction industry. However, many of them are preventable. Workers can minimize their risk of overexertion by getting more rest, wearing safety gear, remaining alert on the job, listening to their bodies, taking frequent breaks, using appropriate handling techniques for work equipment and using safe lifting practices.

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