A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is something that can occur on any job site at any time. The fact is that TBIs can occur to anyone throughout the course of a normal day. One of the largest slip and fall settlements that ever happened in New York City was when a man was awarded $16.5 million for brain damage suffered when he fell down a flight of improperly maintained stairs at an MTA station.
While TBIs can happen anywhere, they are most prevalent in the construction world. According to Science Daily, the instance of fatal TBIs among construction workers is around 0.8 for every 100,000 workers, which makes the construction industry the highest producer of TBIs in the country.
Examples Where Brain Injuries Can Occur
The Science Daily study noted that the instances of fatal TBIs in construction workers jumped to 2.5 for every 100,000 workers when those workers are 65 years of age and older. One of the theories is that older workers have a difficult time maintaining their balance at extreme heights, and the instance of fatal falls goes up as workers get older.
Falls Are Not The Primary Culprit
It is interesting to note that, despite the data regarding older workers and falls, motor vehicle accidents on the job site are the most common reason for TBIs in the construction industry. The second most common reason is falls, and the third is workplace violence or assaults. In all of these instances, identifying the core of the problem can help every construction company to come up with safety measures that reduce TBIs.
OSHA Helps To Identify The Main Causes
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the top three sources of injuries on construction sites are falls from heights, trench collapses, scaffolding accidents. In each case, good safety training and detailed attention to the equipment being used can help to reduce the instance of injuries, and reduce the number of TBIs that occur in the construction industry.
Proper Hardhat Use Is Important
The Brain Injury Society indicates that proper hardhat use can go a long way towards preventing serious TBIs, but
there are three factors working against hardhats that are creating safety risks. The factors are:
1. The simple fact that not every worker wears their hardhat when they should. Every company should enforce strict policies that force workers to get used to wearing hardhats in areas where overhead work is being done.
2. Another problem with hardhat use is that many workers are using inadequate or defective hardhats. Every
construction company should do regular hardhat inspections to make sure that each worker has a hardhat that is adequate for the job they are doing, and in good working order.
3. While it is important to wear hardhats in areas where dangers are obvious, workers should also consider wearing hardhats throughout the job site to prevent TBIs. A worker who slips on wet concrete away from the hardhat zone is just as apt to get a TBI as a worker injured in the hardhat zone. Companies should encourage workers to wear their hardhats whenever they are working to prevent serious injuries.
Workers & Companies Have A Prevention Part To Play
The construction industry is the primary source for TBIs in the working world, but many of those injuries can be prevented with the right training and equipment. As the data continues to come in, it is up to workers and construction companies to work together to improve construction safety and reduce the instances of TBIs.