When people talk about a catastrophic brain injury in the workplace, they usually mean one occurring due to a blow to the head. It could be due to a fall, a vehicle crash or being hit by flying debris. However, there is another way that is far less violent but just as devastating.
Breathing can cause severe brain injury
Every minute you are at work, you breathe in and out multiple times. When there are toxic substances in the air or on surfaces, you breathe them in. That is why adequate ventilation, masks and respiratory devices are vital if your job exposes you to dangerous substances.
Here are some of the toxic substances that can cause severe brain injury:
- Heavy metals: Lead may be present in old pipes. Mercury exists in all sorts of unexpected places, including food and water. Manganese is present in certain metals and can be released when working with them.
- Carbon monoxide: Often known as the silent killer, this gas is common in everyday items, from car exhausts to ovens and heaters. Employees need to ensure adequate ventilation wherever carbon monoxide exposure is a risk to avoid exposing workers to dangerous amounts, which could cause brain injury or kill them.
- Solvents: You can encounter these in various workplaces, from dry cleaners to car spray shops.
- Pesticides: These chemical combinations are designed to kill. It is no surprise that they can harm humans. Ensure your employer gives you protective clothing and respiratory equipment if working with them.
These toxic brain injuries creep up on you slowly, unlike their traumatic counterparts. However, the long-term effects can be equally devastating and require as much compensation.