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Published: August, 2008; Vol 5, Num 3


1.      Purpose and scope – covers all construction workers, but not administrative personnel
·         Applies to all construction work where there may be risk of musculoskeletal problems, except administrative/office workers
·         Purpose – to reduce the occupational contributions to musculoskeletal problems in construction workers
·         Modifications allowed for “practical difficulty, infeasibility, new developments, and/or unnecessary hardship,” but only with equivalent protection
·         NOTES
o   Implementation may not eliminate problems due to complex nature and non-occupational risk factors. Presence of risk factors may not constitute a problem.
o   Standard not intended for enforcement by governmental authorities. There is not complete agreement on the causes and solutions.
2.      Definitions- occupational (and non-occupational) risk factors
·         Musculoskeletal Problems
·         Occupational Risk Factors
·         Force
·         Awkward Postures
·         Repetition
·         Vibration
·         Non-occupational risk factors
·         Neutral Posture
3.      Identification of high risk tasks- process
·         Prior to assigning a task, employers should, as part of an overall safety program, review the risk factors and determine if there is a significant risk.
·         Injury logs and employee symptoms should be reviewed
·         Risks shall be assessed (Appendix A provides guidance).
·         Employees should participate in the process.
4.      Identification of potential solutions
·         Potential solutions should be identified based on the hierarchy of controls:
o   Elimination
o   Substitution
o   Engineering controls
o   Administrative controls
o   Work practice changes
o   Training
o   PPE
o   Assessment of physical capabilities
·         Deviations from the hierarchy may be allowed after analysis.
·         Criteria for evaluation of potential solutions:
o   Reductions in risk factors, pain or symptoms
o   Feasibility
o   Whether other hazards are created
·         Appendix B lists some potential solutions
5.      Implementation
·         Potential solutions shall be evaluated and those accepted implemented.
·         Implemented solutions shall be evaluated again on the jobsite.
·         Evaluation on the site shall be based on reductions of risk factors, pain and symptoms.
6.      Training
·         All construction workers and supervisors should be trained on how to recognize risk factors, ways to reduce risk and non-occupational risk factors.
·         Supervisors should also be trained in how to recognize risk factors and reduce them through proper planning and supervision.
7.      Employee involvement: employees should be included in the early stages of planning a program to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems and task assessments.
8.      Injury management program
·         Employers should develop an injury management program that includes:
o   Encouraging workers to report problems early
o   Effective treatment
o   Return to work/modified duty or modifying tasks/risk exposures
o   Reassessment of tasks that may have contributed to injuries
·         Sites should designate a qualified resource person.
9.      Appendices provide guidance on risk assessment and potential solutions; checklists for manual materials handling and worksites; return to work, web references and risk factor descriptions.