Updated Sep 29, 2022

Campaign to combat serious aches, pains and strains in construction launched

Lifting and moving heavy objects on construction sites is harming the health of brick-layers and builders to such a degree that every aspect of their life is affected.

Experts at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are warning that construction workers are picking up injuries and conditions that can stop them working and leave them struggling to stand, walk or sit down.

HSE inspectors will be carrying out 1,000 inspections in October and November checking how workers are moving heavy or bulky materials.

The law requires employers to prevent the ill health of their workers, which includes injuries to muscles, bones, joints, and nerves that can develop over time, known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Recent figures show around 40,000 people in the construction industry suffer an MSD each year, which can cause years of agonising aches and pains.

Moving and handling risks should be considered and prevented where possible at the design stage. Once on site and before work starts, employers should talk to workers about controlling existing risks to make sure that the right training, aids and equipment are there to prevent injuries.

If moving and lifting is managed properly, a physical job on a building site should not result in aches, pains and strains which affect every part of workers' lives.

Principal ergonomist at HSE, Matt Birtles, said: "Serious aches, pains and strains can affect every part of someone’s life".

"The most intimate parts of their lives can be severely affected".

HSE's head of construction, Sarah Jardine, said: "Inspectors are visiting a range of construction sites to check the action businesses are taking to ensure their workers are being protected".

"Thankfully there are measures that can be taken to prevent injuries to muscles, bones, joints and nerves. Doing so is good for workers and good for the construction industry. It’s good for business".

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