Reducing musculoskeletal injury risk in the construction industry

Assessing and reducing the risk of work-related musculoskeletal injury in rail construction work.

Construction is a high risk industry for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. A multidisciplinary research team from RMIT worked with the Victorian Government’s Major Transport Infrastructure Program to assess and reduce the risk of work-related musculoskeletal injury in rail construction work.

A whole body system of wearable sensors was used to objectively measure risk factors for musculoskeletal injury while workers were performing their daily work tasks. Opportunities to reduce risks were identified and objectively measured. The research shows that musculoskeletal injury risk can be reduced by modifying the environment, redesigning methods of work and carefully selecting the tools and equipment to be used.


Funding Partner: WorkSafe Victoria and the Major Transport Infrastructure Program, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victorian State Government. 

The research process is described in this short report and accompanying video.

Musculoskeletal risk reduction

Research to practice report

Musculoskeletal risk reduction

The following three research-to-practice reports and accompanying films show practical ways to reduce musculoskeletal injury in common manual construction tasks.

Musculoskeletal risk reduction: steel-fixing

This video describes how three different tools impact the risk of musculoskeletal injury to the back, wrist and shoulder when fixing steel at different work heights.

Musculoskeletal risk reduction: cable-pulling and shovelling

This video describes how changing work processes and using modified equipment can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury.

Musculoskeletal risk reduction: jackhammering and shotcreting

This video describes how the adoption of alternative technologies and systems of work can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury in some high risk manual construction tasks.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.