Don’t Mind Me | Preventing Brain Injuries in the Workplace

According to the Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries, between 4% to 7% of all traumatic brain injuries happen in the workplace. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur when there is an impact to the head, or a penetrating head injury, and brain function is altered. TBI’s can cause the brain tissue to bruise, tear, swell or bleed. The impact of a brain injury can be mild and heal over time or it can be life-altering. Severe brain injuries can cause life-long personality changes, memory loss, epilepsy, mental retardation, or death.

Leading causes of TBI’s in the workplace involve falls, motor vehicle accidents, and contact with objects or equipment. Workers involved in Construction, Transportation, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing all have a higher risk of incurring a Workplace Traumatic Brain Injury.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study and determined that most occupational brain injuries occur while workers are performing their normal job functions at their regular work site. They also found that 84% of workers who suffer brain injuries were not wearing any head protection.

Most occupational traumatic brain injuries are preventable. Below are some actions you can take to protect yourself on the job:

  • Wear protective headgear when working from heights or when there is risk of falling objects.
  • Ensure you have high quality, undamaged headgear that complies with The
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) head protection standards.
  • Check that your head protection fits properly and is secure.
  • Wear the proper footwear for your work environment to avoid trips, slips and falls.
  • Follow fall protection guidelines in your workplace.
  • Ensure machinery is in good working order and has been properly serviced.
  • Keep walkways clear of obstacles.
  • Use hand railings in stairwells.
  • Avoid walking on wet surfaces.
  • Drive safely, follow laws, wear your seat belt, and never drive under the influence.
  • Ensure your vehicle is inspected regularly and properly maintained.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the potential risks in your environment.
  • Address potential hazards in the workplace promptly.

For more information on traumatic brain injuries in construction, please visit the CDC webpage on the topic.

Date Posted: 09-01-2017
Tags: brain injury prevention, head protection, osha safety topics, osha workplace safety, ppe safety, tbi, traumatic brain injury,
Categories: OSHA Safety,