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Construction workers at increased risk of suffering TBIs

From working atop ladders and scaffolding to digging in trenches and ditches, in addition to being physically demanding, construction work is also incredibly dangerous. In fact, the construction industry is consistently ranked as being among the top 10 most dangerous professions and falls are by far the leading cause of death and injury among construction workers.

In addition to suffering broken bones and injuries to the spine and internal organs; traumatic brain injuries are also commonly suffered by construction workers who are victims of falls. Recently, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published statistics about the prevalence of TBIs among construction workers noting that, from 2003 to 2010, a total of 2,210 workers died after suffering TBIs-a figure that represents one-fourth of all construction worker deaths.

In addition to TBIs suffered due to falls, statistics show that construction workers also suffered TBIs after being struck by an object or involved in a motor vehicle-related accident. A close review of TBI-related data among construction workers also reveals a strong correlation between the size of a construction company and the likelihood that a worker will suffer a TBI, with workers at companies with 20 or fewer employees being "more than two-and-a-half times more likely" to suffer a fatal TBI.

In addition to those construction workers who suffer fatal TBIs, thousands of others struggle to cope with debilitating brain injuries. Damage suffered to the brain is permanent and may result in an individual suffering physical and/or cognitive impairment including vision and hearing loss, headaches, memory loss, personality changes and loss of coordination and movement.

There's no such thing as a minor brain injury and construction workers who suffer a TBI at work should immediately report the injury and seek medical attention. Injured workers should also take steps to file a workers' compensation claim. In many cases, an attorney who handles workers' comp matters can assist in this process and work to secure the maximum amount of benefits to which a worker is entitled.

Source: CDC.gov, "Traumatic Brain Injuries in Construction," Srinivas Konda, MPH, March 21, 2016

Headway.org, "Effects of brain injury," April 25, 2016

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