Ergonomics Research/studies Construction Manufacturing Musculoskeletal disorders Manufacturing Construction

Construction, manufacturing workers show ‘significantly higher incidence’ of carpal tunnel: study

photo: kali9/iStockphoto

Detroit — Workers in construction and manufacturing may experience a “significantly higher incidence” of carpal tunnel syndrome compared with office workers, results of a recent study by researchers from the Henry Ford Health System show.

Analyzing 2003-2018 data on employment, demographics and injuries from Bureau of Labor Statistics databases, the researchers found that, overall, injuries related to carpal tunnel syndrome fell to 900,380 in 2018 from 1.3 million in 2003 – a 30.7% drop. Higher rates of carpal tunnel injuries were associated with manual labor requiring lifting, gripping and forceful wrist motion – all of which are common in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

Activities that may put workers at increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome include high-force hammering, long-term use, extreme wrist motions and vibrations, according to an HFHS press release.

“This study is an important reminder that carpal tunnel is a primary contributor to hand and upper extremity pain in both the clerical and manufacturing workplaces, and that ergonomic conditions for workers in both industries should be equally considered,” Charles Day, the study’s lead researcher and executive vice chair and chief of hand and upper extremity surgery in the department of orthopedic surgery at HFHS, said in the release.


The study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)