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Traumatic brain injuries and the workplace

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2020 | Workplace Injuries |

Brain damage is one of the most common types of workplace injuries in California and throughout the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.87 million people in the country visit the emergency room, are hospitalized or die every year as a result of brain injuries. 

The numbers are thought to be underreported, as many workers do not know they have brain injuries, but continue to suffer with symptoms that may mask themselves as another condition or illness. With the proper training and safety precautions, employers can help to reduce the number of these tragic incidents. 

What causes brain damage?

Any hit, blow or serious bump to the head can cause the soft tissue of the brain to bounce within the bony skull cavity. With each impact, the tissue may bruise, bleed or swell leaving a worker with short-term and long-term damage. In some cases, it may take several days for someone to realize they have damage at all. During this time, continued inflammation in the brain tissue may lead to further damage. 

What are the signs of trauma?

The signs of traumatic brain injuries vary depending on how severe the injury is and what part of the brain is damaged. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, some signs of traumatic brain injury may include headaches, nausea and vomiting, tingling in the extremities, trouble hearing or seeing, muscle weakness, dizziness, fatigue and behavioral changes. More severe cases may lead to convulsions, seizures, unconsciousness and paralysis. 

How can brain trauma occur?

Brain injuries can happen across many types of workplaces, including offices, construction sites and warehouses. The CDC reports that falls are the number one cause of TBIs. This includes the following: 

  • Falls from scaffolding or a ladder 
  • Slip and falls from unattended spills or ice 
  • Tripping and falling over clutter or items in walkways 
  • Items falling on a person’s head 
  • Falls from forklifts or higher shelving 

Employees should always wear the proper safety equipment and know how to work safely on the job site. Furthermore, employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of employees.