Risk of brain injury highest in the construction industry

A recent study shows that construction workers are at a much greater risk of brain injury than other workers.

Construction can be a dangerous industry, especially when it comes to suffering a traumatic brain injuries (TBI). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a recent study has found that construction workers are at a greater risk of suffering a brain injury from a workplace accident than those in any other profession. While some efforts to improve safety in the construction industry have been made, analysts say the study points to the need for greater improvements to protect workers.

Brain injuries in construction

The study, conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, found that among all U.S. workplaces, the construction industry had by far the highest rate of both fatal and nonfatal traumatic brain injuries. The researchers analyzed data on workplace injuries spanning the period from 2003 to 2010.

During that period the researchers found that 2,210 construction workers died because of a brain injury, which represents close to a quarter of all workplace TBI deaths in the United States. Additionally, a quarter of all construction fatalities are caused by TBI.

Who is at greatest risk?

The study also found that some construction workers were at a greater risk of suffering a TBI than others. For example, men, older workers, workers in small firms, and foreign-born workers were all at a significantly higher risk of dying from a TBI than women, young workers, workers in larger companies, and native-born workers. Structural iron and steel workers were also at the highest risk of suffering a fatal TBI within the construction industry.

As the Brain Injury Society points out, even with hardhats and other safety equipment, the risk of suffering a TBI on a construction site is high. Among the TBI risks construction workers routinely face are falling objects, trench collapses, and scaffold collapses. Falls are especially dangerous, with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimating that on construction sites falls on stairways and ladders alone cause 36 deaths and 25,000 injuries annually.

Personal injury law

A TBI is not only life threatening, it can also severely impact the quality of life for those who suffer such an injury but survive. The damage caused by a TBI could lead to years of care and treatment, which, in some cases, could last for the rest of the injured person's life. Such treatment - especially when combined with the difficulty the injured person may have returning to work - is likely to cause a great deal of financial stress. A personal injury attorney can help workers who have suffered a brain injury, including by helping them potentially pursue compensation that can assist them with their ongoing recovery.