You might think your workplace is safe, but very few facilities are accident-proof. Many Missouri workers rely on their employers to protect their safety and health as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes. However, for many business owners, profits are more important, leaving it up to employees to look out for their own safety.
Workplace accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and the severity of injuries are not always immediately apparent. Brain injuries fall in this category because a medical examination after an on-the-job injury will likely include x-rays to check for fractures, but CT scans to check for brain injuries are expensive and are not likely to form part of the evaluation. This frequently leads to brain-injury workers being sent back to work with undiagnosed injuries. Concussions can cause permanent loss of cognitive functioning and potential life-long problems.
Alertness might prevent brain injuries
You might not realize that a concussion is a brain injury, and any bump to your head could cause a concussion. Regardless of whether you work in an office or on a construction site, risks of any or all of the following workplace accidents could lead to traumatic brain injuries:
- Heavy equipment or machines: Typical equipment hazards include the sudden opening of a loaded backhoe's clam shells, being struck by a forklift, the unanticipated firing of a nail gun or being struck by a tipped dumpster.
- Falling objects: Even small objects can cause severe damage when dropped from above, including tools dropped from a scaffold, unbalanced stacks in a warehouse or random objects on high shelves in an office.
- Chemical exposure: In certain environments, there could be chemical discharges, leaking pipes, overheating equipment, sudden steam releases, fires or explosions — any of which can cause head trauma.
- Falls from elevated areas: Industrial and construction workers who work on scaffolds, elevated platforms and walkways, and walking along beams are at significant risk because even with a fall harness you could bump your head against a hard object.
- Wet floors: Coffee or other spills, water dripping from ceilings or leaking pipes are all sources of slip-and-fall hazards that could result in serious injuries if you fall and strike your head against something hard.
- Tripping: Any time you walk while reading a document, a text message or looking at anything other than the surface of the walkway, you could trip over random objects left standing around — not knowing where you will strike your head if you should fall.
- Damaged stairs: Stairways and fire escapes that are damaged and not properly maintained or have broken handrails can result in falls with devastating consequences.
You have the right to seek a medical evaluation after any workplace injury, and if an incident involves a bump to your head, the best way to protect your health is to have it checked. The Missouri workers' compensation insurance program covers medical expenses for any work-related injuries, and legal counsel can provide necessary support and guidance with the navigation of the claims process.