What happens if I suffer a brain injury while working my construction job?
Gone are the days when we tell anyone to walk off a hit to the head or jokingly ask if they got their bell rung. We have updated football equipment, changed the rules on when soccer players can start heading the ball in youth leagues and made advances in bicycle helmet designs — all to reduce the risk of brain injuries.
Making changes to reduce the risk of injury during extracurriculars is just one step towards reducing the overall rate of brain injuries. Adults injured while on-the-job account for almost 25% of all reported traumatic brain injuries. This can happen when a worker falls or is struck by an object. Although possible in a variety of fields, the group with the highest risk for concussion has yet to make one important change that could have a huge effect on reducing the rate of brain injuries: the construction industry.
Are brain injuries really a problem in the construction industry?
If you suffer a brain injury while working in construction, you are not alone. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that construction workers have the highest number of fatal and nonfatal traumatic brain injuries in the workplace. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that 25% of all deaths from construction were the result of brain injuries.
How can we reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries for construction workers?
Researchers have found a new way to make hard hats that reduces the risk of mild traumatic brain injuries by protecting the head from both a direct and glancing blow. Glancing blows are a major cause of traumatic brain injury as the impact can result in sudden rotation. Researchers now know that this rotational force causes serious damage to the human brain.
Researchers worked with an orthopedic surgeon to develop a hard hat that would absorb this rotational force. Their goal was for the hat to take the force instead of the victim’s brain. This is important because the hard hats most often in use at construction sites are essentially the same as those used in the 1960s.
What happens if I am the victim of a head injury while at work?
Workers injured while on-the-job may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The rules that guide these benefits are governed by state law. Maryland state law generally requires the worker establish they were an employee at the time of the accident and that the injury arose out of and was in the course of that employment.
Failure to properly establish these elements can mean that the victim does not get their entitled benefits. The circumstances of the injury will impact the case. It is important to seek legal counsel to review your situation and help better ensure you satisfy the elements noted above.