Every profession has its individual risks of injury. Workers who spend day after day lifting, twisting, and kneeling are at special risk of injuries to the knees, including bursitis of the knee, skin infections, broken patellas, arthritis, and other conditions that can lead to weeks off work and even early retirement.
The most common installation workers to suffer knee injuries include:
- Cable installers. Cable workers often need to crawl behind televisions and climb ladders, but can also slip on icy driveways during house calls.
- Heating and cooling installers. Many heating and air conditioning technicians spend hours driving or sitting in their service vehicles, followed by short periods of high-intensity physical labor. The shift from prolonged sitting to crouching, squatting, and climbing in and out of crawl spaces leads to improper positioning and undue stress on the joints.
- Plumbers. Kneeling on hard surfaces and working at odd angles is a major cause of pre-patellar bursitis, a painful inflammation of the knee due constant kneeling.
- Drywall installers. Lifting, twisting, and holding heavy sheets of drywall place constant pressure on the joints, and result in a torn ligament or cartilage damage.
- Carpet installers. Flooring installers are needed to lay carpet, padding, tile, linoleum and hardwood—none of which is possible without a worker spending extended time on his or her knees. In addition, workers must twist to pull heavy tiles and carpet into place, adding to the strain on their backs and knees.
- Other technicians. Nearly any job that requires constant bending, lifting, and kneeling can result in a debilitating knee injury that requires persistent medical care (and can make it necessary for the employee to discontinue working).
While protective knee pads can go a long way toward preventing knee injuries in installation workers, employers may not provide proper safety gear to their employees, putting them doubly at risk. If your employer is refusing to cover your on-the-job injury, learn how to fight for your rights in our free informational guide, How to Avoid Becoming a Work Injury Horror Story.