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Traumatic Brain Injury in the Construction Industry Part 1

Head injuries are common on the project site. Although workers are required to wear hard hats at all times when working, accidents happen, and even the most prepared contractors can find themselves being notified about a worker’s head injury when they least expect it. When a worker is struck, bumped, jolted, or otherwise impacted by head injury, the resulting damage can lead to more than just pain. Head injuries can also damage the brain. These types of injuries are known as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). 

It’s imperative that your workforce is able to recognize symptoms of TBI and identify project site risks that could increase their chances of being injured. More importantly, contractors must train their workers and make a steadfast effort to control hazards on the project site. With the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ramping up their efforts to crack down on unsafe project sites, contractors everywhere are experiencing the financial consequences of negligence firsthand. Don’t let OSHA’s oversight affect your bottom line. Consult our OSHA attorneys for a third-party site audit and OSHA defense services to prevent future and active citations, respectively. 

What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBI is “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” In this two-part series, we will cover the symptoms, prevention, and risk factors associated with TBI and discuss what contractors can do to mitigate the threat of TBI on the project site. TBI is a serious issue, as evidenced by the most recent findings by the CDC. Their data notes that there were 56,800 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2014.

Symptoms

One of the most dangerous qualities of TBI is that symptoms have a tendency to appear days or weeks after an injury has occurred. Why is this significant? When a worker experiences a TBI, the delayed symptoms can make it difficult to link the symptoms to the injury. Employees may work for multiple weeks when they should be recovering. Once they start to experience noticeable symptoms, the condition may have already grown more severe. Common symptoms of TBI include:

  • Persistent headaches that continue to grow in intensity
  • Frequent vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Inability to regain consciousness from sleep
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or a lack of feeling in the arms and legs
  • Dilated pupils

In part two, our OSHA attorneys will continue to discuss TBI, focusing specifically on how it affects construction professionals. 

If you would like to speak with one of our OSHA lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.