White Card Update: Construction Workers Beware of Brain Injuries

Construction Industry Has Highest Number of Traumatic Brain Injuries in US Workplace

American Journal of Preventive Medicine study proves that Construction workers are most prone to brain injuries. The nature of construction work is dangerous and so workers often receive injuries to the head which can escalate into brain injury. In fact research has emerged that proves that traumatic brain injury is most common among construction industry workers.

This post was published on Neurosciencenews.com:

 Although traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, work-related TBI has not been well documented. In a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers describe the epidemiology of fatal TBI in the US workplace between 2003 and 2008. This study provides the first national profile of fatal TBIs occurring in the US workplace. The construction industry had the highest number of TBIs and the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry had the highest rates.

 “While TBI is an important topic for public health researchers, there has been a lack of attention paid to the investigation of brain injuries occurring in the workplace,” commented lead investigator Hope M. Tiesman, PhD. “Describing the magnitude of the problem, identifying at-risk sociodemographic and occupational subgroups, and documenting trends are vital first steps when developing prevention strategies…Future research should enumerate and describe nonfatal occupational TBIs in the US. An improved understanding of these factors should lead to more focused and tailored prevention strategies. With limited resources available for occupational safety and health programs, the identification and targeting of high-risk populations, including older workers, should be a priority for industry.”

Source: http://neurosciencenews.com/construction-industry-highest-traumatic-brain-injuries-us-workplace-tbi-neurology/

An acquired brain injury caused by trauma like an object falling on your head (like in the case of the construction worker who suffered injury after an excavator bucket fell and hit him in the head) or when workers fall from scaffolding and hit their heads on concrete are almost  common on construction sites. In fact these incidents often result in physical disability and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Statistics show that in Australia males under 25 years of age are most at risk of sustaining traumatic brain injury in either motor vehicle or work site accidents.

According to the research certain sectors like construction and transportation hold the highest number of traumatic brain injuries.

The post goes on to state:

 Using data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injury (CFOI), coupled with the Current Population Survey, investigators from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Safety Research, Analysis and Field Evaluations Branch, Morgantown, WV, determined that the fatality rate is 0.8 per 100,000 workers per year. The leading causes of fatal TBI were motor vehicle (31%), falls (29%), assaults and violent acts (20%) and contact with objects or equipment (18%). Men suffered fatality rates 15 times higher than women, and workers 65 and over had the highest TBI fatality rates of all workers (2.5 per 100,000 per year).

 Certain occupations remained more hazardous than others, with construction, transportation, and agriculture/forestry/fishing industries recording nearly half of all TBI fatalities. The logging sub-industry had the highest occupational TBI fatality rate of all at 29.7 per 100,000 per year. However, occupational TBI death rates significantly declined 23% over the six-year period.

Source: http://neurosciencenews.com/construction-industry-highest-traumatic-brain-injuries-us-workplace-tbi-neurology/

When transporting a load on a construction site there is the chance that the load may shift and cause a brain injury. When securing a load, ropes are extremely ineffective so rather use webbing strap which is stronger than rope. Use rubber mats to increase the friction in the vehicle to ensure the load doesn’t shift. Also remember that low friction equals high risk.  Vehicle loading decks and loads should be free of oil, grease, water, dirt and other contaminants that may reduce friction, therefore to combat this, always secure loads properly.

A useful quote to remember is:

“If you are travelling at 100km/h and stop suddenly, a poorly secured load can be travelling at the same speed at your head!”


Posted by Steven Asnicar