SBCTC Completes Study on Construction Ergonomics

October 2012—While some construction professionals dismiss the term “ergonomics,” others embrace it as a key to solving leading causes of non-fatal injuries among workers.  A decade ago, ergonomics was most often associated with computer keyboards, office work and manufacturing, and was not seriously considered for the construction worksite.   Today, we see construction safety programs and tool manufacturers adopting the principles of ergonomics to reduce the incidence of sprains, strains and repetitive motion injuries.

In 2011, the SBCTC set out to discover if attitudes and knowledge about ergonomics among California construction unions and contractors had caught-up to the science.  We surveyed people on the front lines about what they do to address high rates of musculoskeletal injuries among union members and if they’ve come to believe that ergonomics does apply in the 21st Century construction world.

We got funding from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR—formerly known as the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights) in the form of a $30,000 small study grant to conduct surveys and worker focus groups.  If you’re curious to learn what we found, click this link to view the final study report on CPWR’s website.  You may be surprised to learn ways that ergonomics—fitting the job to the worker, has found a niche in the tough world of construction.

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