A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is typically the result of a sudden jolt or blow to the head, causing the brain to hit against the skull. It disrupts normal brain function and can range from mild to severe. Many people who sustain TBIs on the job experience long-term cognitive, physical, or emotional impairments. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 176 Americans die each day from TBIs.
Construction workers are especially prone to TBIs due to the nature of their work. Additionally, the lack of proper safety measures and safety equipment on work sites often leads to construction accidents.
What is the traumatic brain injury risk for construction workers?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), more than 2,000 construction workers died after sustaining TBIs between 2003 and 2010. Today, construction workers continue to be at risk. The NIOSH's 2016 study found that the construction workers most susceptible to fatal TBIs are:
- Those employed by smaller construction companies.
- Male construction workers, in comparison to female construction workers.
- Construction workers who are ages 65 and older.
- Foreign-born construction workers, in comparison to native-born workers.
- Those who work on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds.
- Construction workers who work with structural iron and steel.
What causes traumatic brain injuries on construction sites?
The primary causes of construction TBIs include:
- Falls from heights: Working at elevated positions without proper fall protection can result in severe head injuries.
- Struck by objects: Falling tools, debris, or equipment can strike workers on the head.
- Machinery accidents: Operating heavy machinery or equipment without adequate training or safety precautions can result in serious head injuries.
- Structural collapses: Collapse of scaffolding, roofs, walls, or other structures can cause significant and even fatal head trauma.
- Vehicle accidents: Collisions involving construction vehicles, such as trucks, cranes, or forklifts, often cause TBIs.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Uneven surfaces, slippery conditions, or cluttered work areas can cause workers to fall and sustain head trauma.
- Unsafe practices: Lack of adherence to safety regulations, inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), or failure to enforce safety protocols is a common cause of construction-related TBIs.
Construction companies can help prevent TBIs by prioritizing safety training and enforcing strict adherence to safety protocols. Providing workers with proper PPE, such as hard hats, and ensuring regular equipment inspections also minimizes the risk of TBIs.
What can I do if I sustain a traumatic brain injury on the job?
After sustaining a head injury on the job, taking certain steps to ensure your physical and financial recovery is important. Here's what you should do:
- Seek immediate medical attention: Regardless of the severity of your TBI, it's crucial to get medical assistance as soon as possible. A doctor can evaluate your condition, provide necessary treatment, and create a medical record.
- Inform your employer: Notify your employer about the incident that resulted in your TBI. This will ensure that they are aware of the situation and can create a record of your injury.
- Follow medical advice and treatments: Adhere to any treatment plans, medications, or therapies your doctor recommends. This may involve physical therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, or other interventions specific to your injury.
- Take time off from work if necessary: Your recovery should be your top priority. Take off as much time from work as you need. If you're worried about loss of income, an attorney can help you file for workers' compensation benefits.
- Speak to an experienced workers' comp lawyer: Handling a workers' compensation claim alone can be a confusing and complex process. Any error you make can result in delays or denial of your compensation. An experienced lawyer can handle all the paperwork and build your claim for you while you focus on your recovery.
Consult with a San Diego workers' compensation attorney
At McLaughlin & Sanchez, we are committed to helping you recover from your work-related injury. Our law firm can provide you with advice and handle negotiations with your employer's insurance company so you can recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and rehabilitation.
When you're ready to get started, contact us online. We'll answer your questions and walk you through the workers' compensation process. We have offices in San Diego, Chula Vista, and Temecula.