As a California construction worker, you know that your work sites usually are noisy and hectic places. In addition, you often must do your work high off the ground, such as on ladders, scaffolding and roofs. Despite harnesses and other safety equipment, you risk falling every day. If and when you do, your chances of receiving a traumatic brain injury are very high.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that construction sites account for the highest number of TBIs, both fatal and nonfatal, suffered by workers while on the job. Between 2003 and 2010, over 2,200 construction workers suffered a fatal TBI, over half of which were the result of a fall. These TBI deaths represented 25 percent of all construction fatalities during that period.
Workers most at risk
If you are one of the following types of construction workers, your risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury is even greater than that of your co-workers:
- You work for a small construction company with 20 or fewer employees.
- You are 65 years old or older.
- You were born in a foreign country and immigrated to the U.S.
What is a TBI?
A traumatic brain injury is one that causes your brain to dysfunction. It usually results from a blow or jolt to your head, but also from something penetrating your head, such as a falling tool, piece of debris, or even your own shattered skull. Even a seemingly minor bump on the head can give you a TBI. That is why it is so important that you receive immediate medical attention when you suffer any kind of a head injury.
TBI symptoms can be very diverse and vary from person to person. In addition, while some might occur immediately after your accident, others might not show up until several hours, days or even weeks later.
If you receive a head injury, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Headache, nausea or vomiting
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Blurred vision or ringing in your ears
- Dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
- Speech difficulties
- Problems with your memory or concentration
In addition, you could experience mood swings or changes such as aggressiveness, anxiety or depression.
For your own safety and welfare, never “blow off” a head injury. Always get medical help. Only a trained health care professional can assess your injury and do the proper tests to determine whether or not you suffered a TBI. You also may wish to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to see if you can file a claim against your employer.