Manual laborers face physically demanding jobs. They have to ensure they’re working safely in conditions that might make that difficult. They also work around chemicals and tools that can lead to injuries.
Understanding some of the more dangerous risks manual laborers face may help laborers to remain safer.
1. Heavy lifting
Lifting and carrying heavy objects can cause strains, sprains and other injuries to the back, arms and legs. Proper lifting techniques, such as bending at the knees and keeping the back straight, can help prevent these injuries.
2. Exposure to the elements
Manual laborers who work outside or in hot environments may be at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and those who work in cold environments may be at risk of hypothermia. Employers can help prevent these hazards by providing appropriate clothing and allowing workers to take breaks to cool down or warm up.
3. Chemical exposure
Many manual labor jobs involve working with chemicals, such as cleaning products, pesticides or paints. Exposure to these substances can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation and other health issues. Workers should wear appropriate protective equipment and follow safety procedures to minimize their risk of exposure.
4. Repetitive motion injuries
Manual laborers who perform repetitive tasks, such as assembly line work, may be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis. Ergonomic equipment, proper training and breaks to stretch can minimize the risk of these injuries.
5. Mental distress
Manual labor jobs can be mentally and emotionally taxing due to long hours, pressure to meet production goals and job insecurity. Workers may experience physical and mental exhaustion, anxiety and depression.
Staying safe is a top priority for most manual laborers. When they suffer injuries due to their work duties, they can count on workers’ compensation coverage. In some cases, they may have to fight for the benefits they’re due.