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Traumatic brain injuries and construction work

| May 25, 2021 | Brain Injury

Working in construction, it’s not unusual to see people get hurt. There are large machines, scaffolds and moving parts that make construction zones dangerous places.

Unfortunately, some people suffer serious head injuries while working jobs in construction. They may happen because of:

·       Falling objects

·       Falls

·       Getting hit by a moving vehicle

Or one of several other causes. Between 2003 and 2010, 2,210 construction employees passed away because of traumatic brain injuries. TBI-related deaths made up around 25% of all construction fatalities.

Which workers are most likely to suffer brain injuries on the job?

Workers are more likely to suffer from brain injuries on the job if they are working for a smaller construction company (such as those with 20 or fewer employees). In fact, a study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that they were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from TBIs compared to those in larger companies.

TBIs are also more common among foreign-born workers compared to native-born workers, males and older workers.

What’s the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in the workplace?

The most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in the workplace is because of:

·       Falls from roofs

·       Falls from scaffolding

·       Falls from ladders

These three kinds of accidents led to over 50% of all traumatic brain injuries on the job.

What steps can employers take to reduce the likelihood of TBIs on the job?

There are several things that employers can do. For one thing, encouraging the use of the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health’s smartphone application can help. This application helps identify audio and visual signals and provides safety tips for safer ladder positioning

Another helpful tip is to select better harnesses for workers based on their sizes and to encourage a safer rail assembly to protect workers from falling through roofing and other potentially unstable surfaces.

Workers who suffer brain injuries on the job may have a difficult life ahead of them. They may need rehabilitation, vocational retraining and other supports to recover. Some may never recover, and some people may die. Safety has to come first to help prevent these serious accidents.

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