Head injuries can happen to anyone, whether they're an office worker or they are working at a construction site. Something as seemingly minor as getting hit in the head by debris or slipping and falling can result in serious wounds that require immediate, emergency treatment.
Head injuries are serious for a number of reasons, but as one of the most common causes of disability and death for adults in the United States, it's essential that employers take them seriously and take steps to reduce the risk of head injuries involving their employees. While many injuries are minor, requiring only a day or two of recovery, more serious wounds such as concussions, lacerations or fractured skulls can leave people at risk of complications and death.
What are some common work-related head injuries?
Some common work-related head injuries may include:
- Linear skull fractures
- Depressed fractures
- Intracranial hematomas
- Subdural hematomas
- Diffuse axonal injuries
...and others. Any of these injuries can be caused by a blow to the head due to falls, violence, traffic accidents or other causes.
What are the symptoms to watch out for after someone is hurt on the job?
After someone hits their head, you should monitor them for symptoms. If they show symptoms of a head injury, it's essential that they go to the hospital right away. Some symptoms they may display include:
- Tired eyes
- Trouble balancing
- Clear fluid draining from the nose or ears
- Open wounds on the head
- Slurred speech
- A loss of consciousness
If they display any of these symptoms or others that you believe are related to the injury, it's important to call 911 and have them assessed by a medical team. Quick treatment is beneficial and reduces the likelihood of secondary complications and a worsening injury.
Head injuries are diagnosed based on comprehensive medical exams including the use of X-rays, blood tests, an electroencephalogram, a computed tomography scan, a magnetic resonance scan and a physical exam. After the examination is complete, the medical provider can decide on a plan for how to handle the person's head injury and what kind of treatment wil be best for them. The severity of the injury, the health of the person overall and their age all play important roles in determining the best treatment options.
If the injury happens on the job in San Diego, workers will have a right to workers' compensation, in most cases, allowing them to receive free medical care for the injury.