Head injuries are often some of the most serious injuries suffered by Illinois workers. While minor bumps and cuts often heal relatively quickly, traumatic brain injury remains a major cause of workplace death and disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries that occur in and out of the workplace account for about 50,000 deaths and 280,000 hospitalizations every year.
Common Causes of Work-Related Head Injuries
Numerous factors contribute to the occurrence of occupational head injuries. Slippery, cluttered or unstable surfaces, unprotected edges or floor holes, unsafe ladder positioning, and other factors may lead to workplace trips and falls. Among all age groups, falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Workers also suffer head injuries in the workplace due to getting hit by moving objects, bumping into fixed objects, and motor vehicle accidents.
Effects of Head Injuries
Workers may experience a variety of symptoms and complications as a result of occupational head injuries. Depending on the circumstances of their workplace accidents, workers may suffer head injuries ranging from minor to severe.
Minor head trauma may cause headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness, mild confusion, or nausea. Severe head injuries can cause effects such as:
- Balance or coordination issues
- Disorientation or memory loss
- Persistent headaches
- Loss of consciousness
In some cases, these and other head trauma symptoms may resolve with time. For others, however, the effects of head injuries may worsen, be long-lasting, or be permanent.
Treating Head Injuries
The type of treatment that injured workers may require for head trauma depends on how their injuries occurred and their conditions. Employees who suffer minor occupational head injuries may address their symptoms with rest and over the counter pain relievers. Those who suffer severe injuries may need anti-seizure medications, diuretics, or even coma-inducing medications. Some may need surgery to prevent further damage, as well as rehabilitation to regain their lost functionality.
Head Trauma and Workers’ Compensation
Those who suffer head trauma on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Employees with qualifying injuries may receive benefits including medical coverage, temporary disability, vocational rehabilitation, and permanent disability. In the event of fatal occupational head injuries, workers’ families may receive death or survivors’ benefits.