June 12, 2011

Most Workplace Brain Injuries in Construction Industry

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Joseph V. Madia, MD By:

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Brain injuries in agriculture, fishing and forestry industries

(dailyRx News) It's widely known that construction is an industry filed with more dangers than the average workplace. New research reaffirms that suspicion.

The construction industry has the highest number of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. workforce, according to recent research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This marked the first national study of occupational fatalities.

"Follow safety precautions at work."

Though traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death, incidents related to the workplace have not been well documented. Researchers studied fatal traumatic brain injuries between 2003 and 2008 and found that in addition to the construction industry, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry also had high rates of traumatic brain injury.

Researchers said that documenting such injuries is a first step toward developing prevention strategies to reduce the risks. Additionally, they said that additional studies are needed on nonfatal occupational traumatic brain injuries.

Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health collected data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injury and the Current Population Survey, and discovered that the fatality rate is 0.8 per 100,000 workers annually.

The major causes of fatal traumatic brain injury were motor vehicles, which claimed 31 percent, falls which accounted for 29 percent, assaults and violent acts at 20 percent and 18 percent died as a result of contact with equipment or objects.

The fatality rate of men was 15 times higher than women and workers over the age of 65 had the highest traumatic brain injury fatality rate of all workers. Researchers believe that may because of the rising age of the workforce. They also discovered that the leading causes of fatalities has shifted from motor vehicles to falls, likely because older workers are more susceptible to falls.

Half of all traumatic brain injury deaths occurred in only a handful of of fields including construction, transportation, and the agriculture/forestry/fishing industries. The logging sub-industry had the highest occupational traumatic brain injury fatality rate of all at with 29.7 deaths per 100,000 each year.

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: 
June 9, 2011

Last Updated:
June 12, 2011