Head Injuries Can Be Prevented at Construction Sites

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The simple fact is that head and brain injuries can be prevented at construction sites and do not have to be the most frequent result of construction accidents.

However, unless construction-site superintendents, foremen and other managers – as well as construction workers themselves – take responsibility for safety, traumatic brain injury (TBI) will continue to plague the industry.

A recent study that is purported to be the first national profile of fatal TBIs occurring in the U.S. workplace determined that the construction industry had the highest number of TBIs of any industry.

The study, which surveyed nearly 7,300 occupational TBI deaths between 2003 and 2008 showed that the leading causes of occupational TBI-related deaths were: motor vehicle accidents (31%); falls (29%); assaults and violent acts (20%); contact with objects/equipment (18%).

However, the study’s authors also said that, more recently, the leading cause of workplace TBI fatalities had shifted from motor vehicles to falls, according to Science Daily.

This shift was due, in part, to the “graying” of the American workforce, and the long-recognized fact that older individuals, including construction workers, are more susceptible to falls.

No Excuse: Construction Industry Has Knowledge, Tools to Avoid Head Injuries

What is distressing about the problem of TBIs in the construction industry is that the risk should be understood by all those within the industry, especially employers and managers.

For instance, any construction site manager should be familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its voluminous safety regulations for the construction industry.

Still, when OSHA publishes its top 10 most frequently cited standards violations each year, at least three violations are directly related to falls, which is the top cause of TBI. These violations involve: Fall Protection; Scaffolding; Ladders.

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Additionally, violations of standards for powered industrial trucks (i.e., motor vehicles) ranks No. 5 on the list.

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Three more in the top 10 list of OSHA violations – No. 9 machine guarding, No. 8 electrical wiring methods and No. 10 general electrical requirements – square with the fourth most common cause of TBI, which is contact with objects / equipment.

OSHA has standards for head protection as well.

However, OSHA isn’t just about making rules and citing companies for violations. The organization has a training component that spends millions of dollars every year to teach employers and workers how to recognize, avoid and prevent safety hazards in their workplaces. It also teaches employers how to conduct their own classes for workers and provides them with class materials.

So, employers and managers in charge of construction sites not only know of the hazards their workers face, they also know of their responsibility for ensuring their workers are as safe as they can reasonably be. They also have a resource they can turn to for help with educating and training their employees.

In other words, employers and managers in the construction industry have no excuse for neglecting to ensure that safeguards and safe practices are present at their construction sites that will prevent head injuries.

This is why it is proper for a construction worker who has been injured to hold parties responsible if their negligence contributed to their accident and injuries.

Taking Legal Action for Head Injuries in Construction Work

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An injured worker does not have to prove anyone’s responsibility to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.

However, in cases where a third party who is not the employer is responsible for an injury, they can be held liable through a third-party legal claim, which does require proof of responsibility.

A third-party claim seeks compensation from a subcontractor, vendor or another party whose negligence on a construction site caused a worker’s injury. It is the injured worker’s right to pursue such a claim and often the only way such a third-party is held accountable.

Construction work has its inherent hazards, but head injuries should not be as common as they are. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI on a construction site, Frank M. Eidson, P.A., can investigate your accident and help you to hold negligent parties responsible for the harm they have caused. We can also help you to obtain the workers’ comp benefits you deserve.