Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Tips for lessening workplace head injuries in Virginia

Many construction workers and those employed in the oil and gas industry are often exposed to overhead hazards that can turn deadly, especially if they are unprotected and they suffer a serious face or head injury from a fall or a falling object. For instance, in October 2016, an employee who worked for an auto parts company in Massachusetts died of head injuries while making vehicle repairs. Aside from the fact that the employee was not wearing personal protective equipment, the company was penalized for $27,157 after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found it had violated more than a dozen safety rules, including training, electrical safety, HazCom regulations, personal protective equipment and exit route signage.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, 240 workers died after they were hit by equipment or a falling object. These deaths accounted for about five percent of all work-related deaths, according to the International Safety Equipment Association. Further, 12 percent of those who visited emergency rooms in the United States during 2011 suffered neck and head injuries, and injuries relating to the central nervous system and head were the most expensive workers' compensation claims for 2012 and 2013. For these two years, these types of injuries totaled an average cost of $78,183, which was twice the average amount of all claims, according to the 2016 Edition of the National Safety Council's indispensable Injury Facts publication.

Work-related head injuries also occur when employees suffer a serious fall and must take time off from work to recover. In 2013, there were 2,470 documented cases of serious head injuries where employees fell to a lower level, and 9,420 cases related to same-level falls, according to the publication.

Those injured on the job are entitled to collect benefits by filing a workers' compensation claim. Employees whose claims are denied might want to speak with an attorney about appealing the decision.Source: OH&S Online, "Alleviating the Risk from Above", Jerry Laws, March 1, 2017

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