The Health and Safety Executive 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 know as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Despite this law, recent figures show around 40,000 people in the construction industry suffer from MSDs each year.
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.
Matt Birtles, principal ergonomist at HSE, said: “Serious aches, pains and strains can affect every part of someone’s life. They can struggle to get themselves dressed and undressed, they can be unable to pick up their children or grandchildren.
“They can struggle to sit down and stand up, they can struggle to keep still and move around. The most intimate parts of their lives can be severely affected – they might be desperate to go the toilet but find themselves unable.
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.
“Everyone involved in construction has a role to play in keeping people safe. Risks must be managed where they can’t be prevented, and risk management arrangements must be reviewed frequently to ensure they are effective.
“This is a significant health issue for tens of thousands of construction workers and can lead to a lifetime of terrible aches and pains. The health of workers must be considered when planning construction work so that they can carry out their jobs without fear of injuring themselves, including being provided with the correct equipment to lift safely.”