How Common Are Brain Injuries in the Construction Industry

March is known as Brain Injury Awareness Month! Brain injuries are a prominent cause of death and disability. It is consequential to educate workers about the workplace risks that often result in traumatic brain injuries within the construction industry and what measures need to follow to prevent them. Many people suffering from brain injuries are permanently unable to return to work. 

Construction workers are prominent to encounter some of the most elevated risks when it comes to injuries in the workplace. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are often caused by falls and being struck by moving vehicles. Some of the most standard causes of head trauma and brain injuries include:

  • Falling through unmarked floor openings
  • Falling from unsecured ladders
  • Falling from or being caught in collapsing scaffolding
  • Struck by work vehicles
  • Struck by moving cranes
  • Struck by dropped hand tools or materials
  • Struck by shrapnel from hand saws, hammers, etc.
  • Slips on spilled substances such as oil, chemicals, etc.
  • Trips on loose cords, misplaced tools, and shifting materials
  • Losing oxygen due to collapsed trenches, resulting in an acquired TBI
  • TBI caused by damage sustained from electrocution

TBI Symptoms

Traumatic brain injury symptoms can differ substantially between individuals. However, TBIs are unusual in their symptom duration. If your symptoms persist two weeks or longer after the initial injury, it could point to brain damage.

Here are the most common symptoms associated with TBIs:

  • Persistent headaches or migraines
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Disorientation and dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Confusion or fogginess
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Vision changes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Mood swings
  • Behavioral changes

 Reduce brain injuries and make the workplace safer for everyone. Here are 10 ways to achieve that goal-

1.Wear a hard hat/bump cap

Wearing a hard hat or helmet is one of the most necessary things you can do to reduce brain injuries on-site. A helmet is a must-wear gear for workers before leaving for the construction site. A helmet protects you from flying objects and electrical wires that could hang down and make contact with the head. Despite the risks of not wearing a hard hat, some estimates have found that only 16 percent of those who suffered a head injury were wearing a hard hat at the time. It is an area that requires improvement.

2.Regularly check your hard hats and store them properly

Making sure your workers are wearing hard hats isn’t enough to prevent brain injuries. Site supervisors can seriously lower the risk of injury by ensuring the protective helmets are in good shape.

Most hard hat manufacturers recommend the following:

  • One should perform regular inspections looking for cracks, dents, and other visible damage that might weaken the helmet’s outer shell.
  • Keep protective helmets away from extreme temperatures and chemicals, and don’t store them in sunlight. It requires to be cleaned regularly with soapy water

3.Repair and Replace old hard hats

Don't forget to inspect helmets/hard hats before use and if you spot any damage. Do not wait and fix it before using it, or you can also replace the entire helmet when it reaches the end of its service life. Usually, the life of a hard hat is not more than five years. If you’re uncertain how long your helmets have left, the manufacturer should have mentioned an expiration date on the helmet.

4.Use ladders Correctly

Falling, flying objects, and debris exists as a huge concern in the construction industry for workers. But falling is the most significant concern as it can cause most of the industry’s fatal traumatic brain injuries and 1 in 3 deaths overall. The inaccurate use of ladders, whether overloaded, made of metal, placed near power lines, or just using broken ones, is a common cause of falls on a construction site.

5.Use fall protection equipment

By using fall protection equipment, you can avoid falls on a construction site.  Proper use of this equipment, including fall arrest lanyards, lifelines, and anchorage, can decrease the number of brain injuries on-site.

6.Reduce hazards

Every piece of equipment used on a construction site should be placed correctly and put away when it’s no longer in use. Keeping the most heavily used walkways and stairways clear of equipment and materials will help prevent excessive falls and subsequent brain injuries.

7.Utilize Signs

Signage is a must-have on construction sites. If there is a trip hazard or any other hazard that you are not able to keep away from, signage plays an important role. Every worker working on the construction site cannot be aware of all the hazards on every floor. So, it’s up to the person aware of it to make it known through proper signage. Measures like these can reduce the number of brain injuries on-site.

8.Sign up for OSHA Training

There should be proper training for employees to reduce the risk of head injuries on the site. One should take all the preventive measures to make the workplace safe.  

OSHA has a training component that spends millions of dollars each year to teach employers and workers how to avoid and prevent hazards in the workplace. They also teach employers how to conduct their classes for their workers. Every employee should make sure to take the training.

9.Be cautious and aware of your environment

Anyone working on a construction site should be cautious and aware of their environment. Even if they’ve been through hazard training, a single mistake can lead to serious injury. It is especially true if the worker engages in risk-taking or impulsive behaviors without thinking them through. Workers need to take their time, keep their eye on the ever-changing environment of the construction site, and take injury avoidance into their own hands.

10.Stay Cool

Stay relaxed and cool-minded in a complicated situation. Staying calm is a part of being cautious, careful, and aware of hazards. Construction workers have deadlines and quotas they need to meet, which can add a lot of stress to their work and potentially cause serious accidents.

The right personal protective equipment (PPE) can help reduce the risks associated with many common hazards encountered in the construction site. At Bison Life, we have a wide selection of affordable PPE that will meet all your needs, including high-quality safety glasses, gloves, aprons, and more. Keep yourself and your employees safe by investing in the right PPE from Bison Life.