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Traumatic brain injuries among construction workers

New Jersey residents may be aware that construction is one of the nation's most dangerous occupations. Accidents at construction sites kill or injure thousands of workers every year, and figures released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reveal that approximately 2,200 construction workers died between 2003 and 2010 after incurring a traumatic brain injury while on the job.

The NIOSH report, which was published in March 2016 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, reveals that brain injuries were responsible for about a quarter of all construction industry fatalities during the period surveyed. The federal agency found that more than half of these injuries were caused by falls and that older workers were injured at far higher rates than their younger colleagues.

NIOSH also discovered that construction workers at sites with fewer than 20 employees were more than twice as likely to suffer fatal traumatic brain injuries as those working at sites with more than 100 employees. A NIOSH representative acknowledged that construction worker deaths caused by traumatic brain injuries had fallen in recent years, but he pointed out that the research shows that more work needs to be done to protect high-risk workers.

Those who are injured in workplace accidents or develop illnesses due to exposure to toxic substances while on the job may be eligible to file for benefits under their employers' workers' compensation coverqage, but such claims must be substantiated with medical evidence. Attorneys with experience in this area may understand that brain trauma can be particularly challenging for medical professionals to diagnose and evaluate, and they could encourage claimants to seek additional opinions when their doctors are unsure about what the long-term effects of a serious head injury will be.

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