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Bricklayers at risk for back injury: survey

August 12, 2010

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The decentralized nature of the masonry industry and the prevalence of small contractors prevent masonry workers from using products, equipment and work practices geared toward reducing the rate of musculoskeletal injuries, according to a recent survey from the Center for Construction Research and Training in Silver Spring, MD.

Researchers conducted a telephone survey of 183 masonry contractors in 16 states and found safety usually ranked third among reasons for using an intervention, behind time savings and increased productivity.

Bricklayers commonly handle 200 concrete masonry units weighing at least 38 pounds each day, according to a CCRT press release. They have the highest rate of back injuries in the construction industry. Mason tenders have the highest rate of overexertion injuries in the industry.

CCRT, which is affiliated with the Washington-based labor federation AFL-CIO, recommended tailoring information to individual practices and regional differences.

The findings were published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

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