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It’s that time of the year when residential construction activity across Atlanta is on the upswing. Thousands of construction workers, especially those who carry heavy building materials, must endure severe physical stress and strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a new bulletin to educate workers about the risk of injuries from carrying materials.

Construction workers’ jobs are among most strenuous and frequently require them to carry heavy objects, lift things, pull, push, bend, stoop and perform activities that increase the risk of musculoskeletal, or soft tissue, injuries.

Soft tissue injuries refer to injuries affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, disks and cartilage. These injuries can cause severe pain, numbness, tingling sensations and other effects that can reduce a worker’s ability to do the job. Soft tissue injuries tend to be repetitive stress injuries that develop over a period of time, and most frequently affect the neck, back, shoulder, elbow arms, hips, wrists, knees and ankles.

To reduce the risk of soft tissue injuries, avoid lifting or carrying heavy or unbalanced materials far away from the body. Use smooth movements, and avoid jerky actions when lifting or carrying materials. Pay attention to the way that you bend your body while lifting. The wrong kind of bending and stooping techniques can increase the risk of repetitive stress injury.

Employers must invest in worker training and make sure that their material handling and storage practices are designed to reduce the risk of workplace injury.

Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned.