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Traumatic brain injury in the construction industry

While fatalities from traumatic brain injuries in the construction industry decreased between 2003 and 2010, both fatal and non-fatal TBIs continue to be a problem. Construction sites still result in more TBIs than any other U.S. workplace. However, safety standards and practice are improving for workers in New Jersey and throughout the United States.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published a report in the "American Journal of Industrial Medicine" that examined construction brain injury deaths from 2003 to 2010. It found that fatal TBIs were highest among roofers and structural steel and iron workers who fell to their deaths. Older workers, foreign-born workers and male workers all had higher fatality rates compared to workers who were younger, native-born or female respectively. In companies that had fewer than 20 employees, workers were more than two times as likely to die from a TBI than in companies with more than 100 employees.

Along with NIOSH, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Center for Construction Research and Training have launched a falls prevention campaign. NIOSH has developed a smartphone app that helps with safe positioning of ladders as well and has also done research into improved safety harnesses and other protective devices.

Regardless of the type of injury, a construction worker who is injured on the job or who becomes ill as a result of exposure to a hazard in the workplace may be eligible for workers' compensation. Injured workers may want to have the assistance of an attorney when preparing their claims for benefits that can include medical care and partial wage replacement.

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