Most work injuries are minor. People fall and break a bone or twist their ankles. They may require temporary medical support and a few days off of the job, but overall the incident will have relatively minor impact on them and their employer.
Other times, a worker’s injury can have lasting consequences. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often result in permanent changes to a worker’s abilities and daily life. There are many ways in which a worker could suffer a TBI on the job, and they may not always realize that they are at risk for a brain injury until several days later. The delayed onset of symptoms after an initial injury is common with TBIs.
What are some of the ways people develop TBIs on the job?
Through blunt-force trauma
Striking your head or having something hit your head can cause severe traumatic injuries. Examples would include hitting your head on the floor after a fall or getting struck with a falling object.
Anytime someone suffers blunt-force trauma to the head, there is a realistic risk of serious brain injury, especially if they lose consciousness or have a headache afterward.
Sometimes, someone gets hurt because of an equipment malfunction. A piece shoots off the back of a press, striking the worker in the head. While it may be the size of a grain of rice, that projectile could penetrate the skull, causing severe damage to the brain. Firearm injuries incurred due to criminal activity, such as robberies, can also cause TBIs for workers.
Violent motions that shake the head
If a worker gets trapped in a crate that tumbles off of a piece of shelving or if they experience a car crash on the job, they can hurt their brain without ever hitting their head. The violent motion involved in such incidents can cause swelling and bleeding on the brain, which can lead to TBI symptoms as the pressure worsens.
Percussive force involves the shock waves that occur after explosions. Those who work in oil and gas production or in industrial facilities could be at risk of being close to an accidental explosion when one occurs, which could cause a traumatic brain injury that affects that individual for the rest of their life.
Workers who develop a TBI because of an incident on the job can usually secure workers’ compensation insurance benefits. Reporting an incident that could result in a TBI on the job is often the first step to protect yourself from these very severe work injuries.