Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are one of the leading causes of death in the United States according to Science Daily. TBIs are also one of the deadliest injuries that occur in the workplace, and those at highest risk for this deadly injury come from the construction industry. Despite the hard hat requirement on construction sites, TBIs are occurring at alarming rates – and they do not seem to be decreasing any time soon.
TBIs occur when a bump or blow to the head occurs. It can also happen when a penetrating head injury happens that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBIs range from mild to severe – and there are instances where they can be life-threatening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these injuries include concussions; in fact, concussions are the most common type of TBI seen in emergency rooms. Some TBIs can resolve themselves over time, but others may result in permanent, irreversible damage to the brain.
Why Hard Hats Aren’t Enough
Hard hats do provide the best hope for protection against TBIs, but they are not 100 percent foolproof. When workers do not wear them or they are indoors, they are still at risk for injury on the construction site. Also, TBIs can occur while someone is wearing the proper head protection, just like football players can sustain head trauma while wearing their helmets. The construction industry is by far one of the most dangerous work environments in the country – especially for head injuries. The construction industry, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, has the highest number of TBIs on the job.
According to the data, the fatal injury rate for the construction industry is worst for TBIs and higher than the national average. Hazards on the construction site increase the likelihood that workers will sustain some sort of head trauma. These hazards include:
- Falls from great heights – such as scaffolding, rooftops, etc.
- Trench collapses
- Scaffold collapses
- Falling objects – such as tools or unsecured construction equipment that falls on the worker
It is estimated that 25,000 workers suffer injuries from falls in the construction industry and 36 deaths occur each year. Workers are required by OSHA to wear protective headgear when there is a potential for falling objects or a fall from their place of work. They are also required to wear hard hats when working with electrical hazards.
There are instances, however, where TBIs have occurred in situations where hard hats did not seem to be required. For example, falls are the leading cause of TBIs in the construction industry. But, a large majority of those falls are on surfaces that are wet or uneven – not necessarily related to construction. Therefore, an employee in the construction industry could fall inside a trailer without a hard hat, and sustain a serious injury to the brain.
Have You Suffered from a TBI Due to a Work-Related Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury due to your work in construction, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. You will need to speak with a construction accident attorney first to explore your options for compensation. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to file a workers’ compensation claim or file a third-party lawsuit. Contact the attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. today to see how to proceed with your claim. We offer free consultations, so schedule yours now at 877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.