March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ 2010 report on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) unintentional falls were responsible for 37% of deaths due to TBI, 47% of TBI related emergency department visits, and 60% of hospitalizations due to TBI. That makes unintentional falls the leading cause of TBI. The second leading cause is motor vehicle crashes.

How can you prevent TBI on the job? First of all, know your risks and eliminate the hazards. Some things to consider in your work environment:

Fall Hazards including; unprotected sides, wall openings, side holes, improper scaffolding construction, unguarded protruding steel rebars, and misuse of portable ladders.
Walking Surface hazards including; wet surfaces, worn shoe soles, spills and weather hazards.
Hard Hat Areas; where there is a danger of objects falling from above, where  you could bump your head against an object, or where accidental head contact with electrical hazards.
Driving on the job           

Second, always make sure you wear your personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job.  Remember these tips regarding PPE to stay safe:

All workers who are working on a walking-working surface four to six feet or more above a lower level, constructing a leading edge or working hoisting areas are required to have fall protection.  
Make sure you are wearing a hard hat that is fit to you. A hard hat should not fall off your head when you bend over and shake your head. If it falls off it is too loose.
Regularly inspect all of your PPE for wear and tear, cracks and fraying.
ALWAYS wear your seat belt while driving.

These hazards exist not only on the job, but at home and any place you travel.  For more information on preventing brain injuries, and learning signs and symptoms of brain injuries, please visit the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts’ web page.