Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common types of workplace accidents in the United States. The high prevalence is due in part to the wide-variety of ways people can acquire head trauma across different work environments, including construction sites, warehouses and office buildings. How serious is the problem?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.8 million people die, check into the hospital or visit the emergency room every year as a result of traumatic brain injuries. In one year alone, 56,800 deaths involved brain injuries.
How can workers become victims of traumatic brain injuries? The leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and deaths are falls. This may include falls from scaffolding, ladders, forklifts, docks, roofs, platforms and trees, as well as slip-and-fall injuries from cluttered floors and spills. Falling objects are the second leading cause of brain injuries. Even though employees must wear hard hats on construction sites and other head protection, heavy, swift falling objects can cause significant damage if and when they hit someone.
Traumatic brain injuries can result in a wide-range of symptoms, including the following:
- Tingling in the extremities and muscle weakness
- Persistent headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensory deficiencies
- Dizziness, confusion and memory loss
- Convulsions, seizures and loss of consciousness
Any quick jolt or heavy impact to the head may result in the soft brain tissue to hit into the hard skull bone. This sudden force may lead to brain bleeding, bruising and swelling. When the brain swells, it can cause increased pressure in the skull cavity, which may damage the brain further. It is critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to minimize the damage done to the brain.