Returning to work after suffering a brain injury

A number of workers who are injured on the job suffer from varying degrees of traumatic brain damage. This can occur when employees slip and fall on a liquid spill or clutter left on the floor, have a falling object strike their heads or fall from a substantial height. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain damage accounts for approximately 30 percent of all injury deaths in the United States. While some industries, such as construction, are notorious for causing more cases of TBI than others, brain damage can occur in any type of work setting. In some cases, the damage can be so extreme that the worker is unable to return to work, and perform the duties that they did before the accident occurred.

After a systematic review of 49 TBI studies, the National Institutes of Health reported that after one year of receiving a traumatic brain injury, 40.7 percent of people returned to work. When people experience a hard jolt to the head, it causes the brain to smack into the hard skull bone. This damages delicate brain tissue, and causes bleeding, inflammation and bruising. Depending on the area that is damaged, people exhibit various symptoms. These may include the following:

  •          Difficulty concentrating, organizing tasks and making decisions.
  •          Decreased sensory perception.
  •          Muscle weakness, tingling and possible seizures.
  •          Persistent headaches.
  •          Nausea and vomiting.
  •          Inability to recall new information.

While some symptoms may be temporary and can be fixed with medical treatment and rehabilitation, others can become permanent. This can make it difficult for people to perform certain tasks at work and they may not be able to go back to their same position once they have recovered to a certain extent. 

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