Massey University | Residential Builders tell us how to prevent discomfort, pain and injury

In 2014, 61 experienced builders from around New Zealand were interviewed at work and asked what they thought were the risk factors to musculoskeletal problems (MSDs) in building and how these could be overcome.

‍164 interventions were recommended and then rated by the builders themselves, the researchers and also rated as to what was supported by evidence in the literature.

Here’s a selection of what they said:

• Develop a schedule of work and determine critical paths
• Develop longstanding relationships with suppliers, operators, scaffolders and subbies
• Maintain a tidy building site, plan site layout before building to optimise access, security, hygiene, materials waste, reduce travel distance and improve the flow
• Work with scaffolding company on the design to ensure it meets everyone’s requirements
• Build a loading platform on scaffolding for materials on the level they are to be used
• Regular participative H+S meetings with planning meetings prior to difficult building activities
• Person in charge of site needs to set the standard for OHS- raising awareness, monitoring, encouraging discussion and providing support
• Ensure there is enough people on site at each stage of construction, work in pairs for certain tasks
• Plan to use mechanical equipment where possible
• Deliver joinery unglazed and deliver all materials as close as to where they are being used.
• Ensure the transfer of effective handling techniques from experienced to younger builders.

‍CHASNZ in conjunction with WorkSafe are looking for residential builders that wish to participate in follow up research from this study. We will be looking to verify if these recommendations are still relevant and come up with additional new practical ways of reducing MSDs in Construction.

If you would like to be involved contact Chris Polaczuk at CHASNZ