Despite the fact that brain injuries are generally not overtly physical problems, they can cost a lot to insure and handle workers’ compensation insurance claims. The sooner an employee in an accident with concussive brain damage is examined and treated, the sooner it is possible to prevent long-term issues.
Which workers are most at risk for brain injuries?
Construction workers or those working on large assembly lines appear more likely to suffer a brain injury. Most traumatic brain injuries sustained by construction workers occurred from falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolding. However, employees in any workplace can sustain a brain injury.
Sometimes brain injuries can occur from falling on loose carpeting, slipping on a staircase, being hit from an open file cabinet, or even from employee fights.
A mild bump on the head today can turn into a major problem in the future.
What happens when a worker gets a brain injury?
If an employee suffered a concussion, they should receive immediate medical attention. Physicians look for certain red flag symptoms that indicate the possibility of brain injury. As soon as it’s clear the employee has sustained a brain injury, they will need to rest and avoid exertion. It’s important to remember that concussions can have severe and debilitating effects.
In what ways can the workplace prevent brain injuries?
Protect your employees from any concussions in the workplace by taking these precautions:
- Take care not to trip over obstacles. Keep the walkways, workspaces and workplaces clear of clutter, cords, water, or anything else that could lead to a trip, fall or slip.
- Wet surfaces should be marked with proper signage.
- If you take the stairs, hold onto the handrails.
- Use a step stool to reach for objects instead of standing on chairs, desks or tables.
- Don’t stand on the uppermost two steps of a ladder.
- Wear a helmet when required and make sure it is properly fitted and in good condition.
- Keep all warehouse and traveling vehicles well-maintained.
- Be sure to secure all items in shelving as safely as possible.
Brain injuries are costly
A person can be impaired in thinking, moving, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning for years after an accident. A brain injury not only affects a person but their family and community.
With a traumatic brain injury, the recovery costs can be astronomical. Among those costs are extended medical stays, rehabilitation, counseling, hiring a personal caregiver or nurse and potential employment retraining.
Most patients recover after three to four months and most cognitive symptoms clear up within a few weeks. However, it’s almost impossible to predict the outcome.
Employees recovering from head injuries should be covered by workers’ compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and training to gain new skills. If your workers’ compensation provider does not believe that the treatment is appropriate, an Independent Medical Examination (IME) may be required.
It’s important for the workplace to take safety precautions and prepare well ahead in case an accident happens so everyone can stay safe.