Head injuries are amongst the most dangerous work-related incidents that can occur. Below is some information including the most common types, how to prevent them, and how they can be treated.
Types of Head Injuries
A head injury is any type of trauma that damages the skull, scalp, or brain. One of the most common head injuries is called a concussion. A concussion occurs when the brain shakes and crashes into the skull, usually as a result of a blow to the head. Other more serious head injuries include contusions, skull fractures, and hematoma. Contusions occur when the brain becomes bruised and causes swelling. A skull fracture is when one of the cranial skull bones receives some type of break. Hematoma is when the brain begins bleeding and clots.
Signs for all of these injuries include confusion, slurred speech, headache, nausea, loss of balance, loss of memory, ringing in ears, and changes in behavior. Signs that the head injury is more serious include the inability to move one or more limbs, convulsions, changes in pupil size, loss of consciousness and vomiting. If any of these symptoms occur to somebody on your jobsite, it is imperative that they receive immediate medical attention.
Causes of Head Injuries
Head injuries generally occur to those that work in manual labor. Examples include construction, maintenance, and landscaping. However, head injuries can also happen to people that work in other fields, such as office work and retail. Below are a few common situations where head injuries occur.
• Falling objects
• Falling from a high distance (ladder, scaffold, roof, etc.)
• Tripping over an object on the ground
• Slipping on a spill
Preventing Head Injuries
Like other work-related incidents, most head injuries can be avoided by following proper safety procedures. One of the most important components to remaining safe on the job is wearing the proper safety equipment. Hard hats should be worn at all times and must properly fit the wearer. A proper fitting hard hat will cover the forehead with the brim parallel to the ground and/or floor. The hat should not be lose enough to fall off the head or slide around, but should also not be so tight that it irritates the skin.
Furthermore, head injuries can be prevented by treating every situation with caution. Do not horse around on the job site, and never throw tools and equipment. Even situations that seem as innocent as asking your coworker to “toss a hammer” can quickly get ugly. Taking the time to walk up to somebody and hand them something as opposed to tossing it across the job site can prevent life-altering injuries. Shortcuts like this simply aren’t worth the risk.
Hard hats aren’t the only safety items that can prevent head injuries. Harnesses, wet floor signs, and slip resistant shoes also need to be used when necessary. Speak with your supervisor if you are unsure about the type of equipment you should be using.
Have you been injured on the job?
If you have received a head injury while on the job, you may be entitled to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits. If you live in the Harrisburg, Indiana, or Pittsburgh area, contact PaWorkersCompHelpNow at 877-COMPHELP for a free consultation.