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Brain injuries a leading cause of construction deaths

Pennsylvania construction workers may be surprised to learn that head injuries were responsible for 25 percent of all fatalities in their industry around the country between 2003 and 2010, accounting for 2,210 deaths. However, the good news is that traumatic brain injuries decreased by over 6 percent each year during the same period.

A report published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine provides details on TBI deaths in the construction industry. The study, conducted by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, found that workers employed at small construction companies were more than 2.5 times more likely to be killed by a head injury than workers in large companies. The study also found that older workers were four times more likely to die from a TBI than younger workers, and male workers were seven times more likely to be killed from head injuries than female workers. Meanwhile, foreign workers suffered TBIs at significantly higher rates than American-born workers. More than 50 percent of all head injuries were caused by falls, particularly tumbles from ladders, roofs and scaffolds.

To address fall safety, the Center for Construction Research and Training is launching the Safety Stand-Down campaign on May 2, 2016. The week-long initiative will push fall prevention techniques. Studies show improved harness designs, worker-support brackets and roof guardrail systems can protect construction workers from falls.

A brain injury can cause workers long-term health care issues and permanent disabilities. If it was caused by a defective piece of equipment, an attorney can often be of assistance in pursuing damages from the negligent manufacturer.

Source: CDC, "Traumatic Brain Injuries in Construction," Srinivas Konda, March 21, 2016

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