Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are serious and can be incredibly damaging in the long term for victims if left untreated. Often, they are not detectable until days or even weeks after an accident.
When it comes to TBIs and workplace injuries, which occupations are at the greatest risk?
Construction, transportation, and agriculture
It may come as no surprise that the construction, transportation and agriculture/forestry/fishing industries have the highest rates of TBIs. Manual labor can risk bodily harm.
A study of TBIs in the United States determined that these industries recorded nearly half of all TBI fatalities. The leading causes of occupational TBI death were:
- Motor vehicle accidents (31 percent)
- Falls (29 percent)
- Assaults and violent acts (20 percent)
- Contact with objects/equipment (18 percent)
Symptoms of a TBI can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. A mild TBI can include the following signs:
- Momentary loss of consciousness; or a conscious state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
- Headaches, dizziness or loss of balance
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Problems with speech
- Sensory problems such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Memory or concentration problems
A moderate or severe TBI can include stronger versions of any of the above symptoms, such as a longer loss of consciousness or a more persistent headache. Other severe symptoms are:
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation in one or both pupils
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
- Weakness or numbness in the fingers or toes
- Loss of coordination
- Profound confusion
- Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
- Slurred speech
Employees in these industries should be aware of how their occupation could cause a TBI and be sure to receive the proper treatment and compensation for those injuries. Working these jobs can mean a heightened risk for harm, but it shouldn't mean a greater physical and financial burden on the worker.