Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo, PC (SPBMC) has successfully represented masons and professionals who have been injured or killed while working with brick, concrete and stone on commercial and residential construction sites. This work is physically demanding because masons lift heavy materials and often must stand, kneel, and bend for long periods. Poor weather conditions may reduce work activity because masons usually work outdoors. Additionally, the materials used can be hazardous when they come in contact with bare skin.
According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health, a bricklayer might lift the equivalent of 3.8 tons, or the equivalent of two small SUVs in one day, and might potentially lift the equivalent of 950 tons over the course of a year.
With that in mind, musculoskeletal injuries are among the most common suffered by bricklayers and masonry workers. We have represented clients who suffer from a disorder known as Repetitive Strain Injury, because repetitive forward bending is a contributing factor to musculoskeletal back injuries. These injuries involve muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels, nerves and other soft tissues.
Some suggestions for safer lifting and work conditions include:
Keeping proper posture and maintaining a straight back is the basis for safely staging and lifting materials.
Don’t lift items that are too heavy by yourself. Instead, use a team or equipment.
Wear steel-toed boots, in case you drop tools or materials.
Use gloves as appropriate. Gloves provide better grip and protect hands from injuries.
Use dollies or carts to transport materials.
In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 40% of fatal accidents among masons stemmed from contact with objects and equipment. When hazardous materials are used, personal protective equipment (PPE), like gloves are necessary to reduce the risk of contact. Masonry cement can cause serious skin injuries, like caustic burns and illnesses like allergic dermatitis.
Some quick tips to protect your skin include:
Avoid contact with unhardened masonry cement.
If contact occurs, properly wash affected area with soap and water.
Should prolonged exposure to unhardened masonry cement products occur, wear impervious clothing and gloves to eliminate skin contact.
Brick, concrete and stone are often used to create, beautify and support structures. These materials are vital to the construction industry, but can be dangerous if not properly and safely handled and installed. These risk factors can be mitigated by taking proper cautionary steps.
SPBMC is committed to helping hardworking masons and construction professionals who have sustained injuries or illnesses. If you need to speak with one of our experienced New York City personal injury lawyers, we are pleased to offer a free consultation.
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