You can work for years and hardly get a scratch, and then one day a fall at work can change your life forever. Falls may cause injuries such as abrasions, fractures, and dislocations. However, one of the most serious results of a fall, other than death, is a head injury. How this will affect you depends on which part of your brain has been injured as a result of the fall or impact.
Several factors determine which body parts are injured and the severity of the injuries resulting from a fall. As a result, traumatic brain injury can occur to workers in any occupation. Factors to consider are:
- The distance of a fall (velocity and momentum) — You could fall from the top of the stairwell or trip on the same level.
- The angle of the body at impact — We’re not like cats, which land on all fours.
- The obstacles the body strikes as it falls — You could fall down steps, or against the corner of a desk.
- The surface eventually landed on — Will it be a gravel parking lot, a pile of hay, or broken concrete?
Broken bones usually heal, but traumatic head injuries can result in lifelong problems that affect you and your loved ones. These include:
- Changes in personality, such as increased anxiety, depression or anger
- Difficulties with eye and hand coordination, and the inability to handle tools or play sports well
- Defects in vision and visual illusions
- Short-term memory loss or interference with long-term memory
- Increased aggressive behavior
- Difficulty in distinguishing left from right
- Changes in social behavior
Stay alert! Head injuries can have devastating consequences that may affect your life forever.
- Remind your workers to play it safe and avoid taking risks.
- Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions immediately to the nearest supervisor.
- Make it a habit to work safely, regardless of time pressures and productivity goals.
- Train employees in the proper use of fall protection and fall restraint equipment. Consistently enforce your fall protection rules.
- Provide non-skid strips or floor mats in slippery or wet areas.
- Ensure that workers wear proper footwear for their work environment, whether in the office, shop, feedlot or field.