As a New York construction worker, no one need tell you that your job often requires you to work at considerable heights, such as on tall ladders, roofs and scaffolding. Despite the safety precautions and equipment your employer likely has in place, you nevertheless face a tremendous risk of falling. If and when you do, you risk receiving a serious and debilitating injury such as a traumatic brain injury.
A TBI is an injury to your head and/or neck of such severity that your brain begins to malfunction. Falls are the leading cause of TBIs, and you are at particularly high risk for sustaining one due to your occupation. Your risk increases if you are 65 years old or older, work for a small construction company that employs 20 or fewer workers, or are not a native-born American.
As stated, when you fall, especially from a height, the force of your head’s impact with the ground or other surface causes your brain to move violently back and forth in your skull, thereby injuring it, often severely. Another prevalent construction site TBI cause is if a sharp object, such as a flying piece of glass or other debris or a sharp tool pierces your skull, injuring your brain.
Depending on which part of your brain is injured and the severity of the injury, you may or may not exhibit immediate symptoms. While a severe TBI could knock you out or even kill you, your symptoms of a less severe TBI may not appear until days, hours or even weeks after your accident. Consequently, you should be on the lookout for any of the following symptoms after any head injury:
- Nausea, vomiting and headaches
- Blurry vision or a constant ringing in your ears
- Dizziness, coordination or balance problems
- Speech difficulties
- Difficulties thinking, reasoning and/or remembering
- Too little or too much sleep
Needless to say, your brain determines the way you feel and act on a daily basis. A TBI can cause your personality to change in one or more of the following ways:
- Your moods swing quickly between upbeat and downbeat.
- You feel unusually depressed, anxious or fearful.
- You become unusually irritable, angry, argumentative or aggressive.
- You become morose and/or tearful.
- The slightest thing “sets you off.”
The most important thing you can do after receiving any head injury, no matter how seemingly slight or inconsequential, is to seek immediate emergency medical assistance. Even if it seems like an unnecessary hassle, you should undergo assessment and testing by a health care provider trained in head traumas. Only (s)he can assess your condition, test you for possible brain damage, and begin immediate treatment and therapy if you indeed injured your brain. Given that a TBI can disable you for life, the sooner you receive appropriate treatment, the more likely that your TBI symptoms can be minimized and you can return to work and your normal life as soon as possible.