Scholars Explore Traumatic Brain Injury at the Workplace

It comes as no surprise that workers in certain physically intensive fields are more susceptible to serious on the job injuries. However, until quite recently, research on work-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been sorely lacking, despite its status as a leading cause of death. A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has identified the most at-risk groups, and will hopefully inspire employers to engage in targeted strategies to protect their workers from TBI.

Construction accidents: common causes

Almost 7,300 workers died as a result of brain trauma sustained at the workplace between 2003 and 2008. Researchers analyzed the data behind these deaths to capture a snapshot of work-related TBI.

Compared to all other occupations, the construction industry had by far the highest number of TBIs. Although they had lower raw numbers than construction in terms of workers killed, the agriculture, forestry, and fishing businesses displayed unusually high rates of severe TBI.

The most prevalent causes of occupational TBI align with many of the potential threats inherent to especially dangerous industries. According to the study's authors, nearly a third of work-related TBI fatalities were attributable to motor vehicle-related accidents and falls, respectively. Assaults/violence and contact with objects or equipment each accounted for approximately 20 percent of workplace TBIs.

Men had a TBI fatality rate 15 times that of women, and older workers (those over the age of 64) had the highest fatality rate out of all age groups.

Recommendations to employers

The authors of the Preventive Medicine study believe that their conclusions could be utilized in order to create safer work environments. By taking adequate precautions aimed at older workers and any worker engaged in construction or one of the other high-risk work activities identified in the study, employers could significantly lower TBI fatality rates.

Employers are responsible for providing their employees with safe working conditions. Many preventative strategies can lower the risk for on the job TBIs. Examples of such strategies include: keeping walkways free and clear of obstacles, providing adequate and effect personal safety equipment (hardhats, fall arrest systems, etc.), and ensuring that all workers are properly trained before operating vehicles or other equipment.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a workplace accident, contact an attorney to collect the compensation you deserve from any responsible parties.

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