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Traumatic brain injuries can occur in any workplace

Construction sites seem obvious places where traumatic brain injuries can happen, but you could be at risk even if you work in an office. Auto repair shops, industrial kitchens and just about every other workplace in Iowa pose hazards that could leave you with a TBI. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, and being alert and avoiding distraction will go a long way in keeping you safe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration puts the burden of your safety on the shoulders of your employer, but most of the workplace accidents that cause traumatic brain injuries are unanticipated. Being aware of potential hazards might be your best chance of avoiding a TBI.

Potential causes

Remember, you can suffer a brain injury even if there is no penetration through your skull. No work environment can be entirely accident-free, and you might fall victim to any of the following:

  • Falls: Safety authorities say falls cause a significant percentage of fatal workplace head injuries. Not all falls involve elevated levels on construction sites or happen in industrial facilities, and a fall at ground level is as dangerous as a fall from a scaffold, forklift or a ladder.
  • Trip-and-fall: Randomly placed objects in offices, warehouses, retail store aisles and any other workplace cause trip hazards. Even something as insignificant as an electrical extension cord can be a trip hazard.
  • Slip-and-fall: Slips occur wherever walking surfaces are wet and slippery -- from spilled coffee in office environments to oil and grease in auto workshops to greasy floors in industrial kitchens. Seasonal weather hazards like rain, ice and snow also cause many falls.
  • Faulty stairs: Metal stairs like fire escapes can rust and become dangerous, and staircases inside buildings could have broken steps or damaged handrails. Insufficient lighting can also cause falls on stairways
  • Heavy machines: Struck-by accidents cause many brain injuries to workers who share their workspaces with heavy equipment -- especially those with swinging arms like cranes. Forklifts, dumpsters and backhoe clamshells pose similar hazards.
  • Falling objects: Falling objects can cause severe injuries, regardless of whether it is a dropped tool from a scaffold or a badly stacked box in a storage room or warehouse. Even something as small as a bolt or nut can become a deadly projectile if dropped from a very high area.
  • Chemical exposure: If you work in a power plant, sudden steam release, overheating equipment, explosions and leaking pipes pose significant hazards that can cause traumatic brain injuries.

Any of these accidents can cause your head to strike a hard object, leaving you with traumatic brain injuries. A TBI can be life changing and might even limit your ability to earn an income and care for your family.

Fortunately, the Iowa workers' compensation insurance program offers financial assistance to injured workers. Navigating your own benefits claim could be daunting, and if you want to make sure you receive maximum compensation under applicable laws, it might be a good idea to secure the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

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