It’s an all-too-common scenario: A worker suffers a bump on the head, but goes on working.
It might not seem like a big deal at the time, but the results of bump, jolt, or blow to the head can be serious. Brain injuries are a major cause of death and disability. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) contribute to about one in three injury deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What’s more, over 5.3 million Americans are living with brain injury-related disabilities. A substantial number of people with brain injuries are permanently unable to return to work.
Every March for the past three decades, the Brain Injury Association of America has led Brain Injury Awareness Month to raise awareness, expand research, and support people living with brain injuries. This year’s theme is Change Your Mind.
Here are 10 ideas to promote awareness and prevent brain injuries in your workplace:
- Always wear a seatbelt when you drive or ride in a moving vehicle.
- Select the right helmet and wear it whenever there is the potential for a head injury. Helmets must resist penetration, absorb the shock of a blow, and protect against electrical shock.
- Secure loose objects that could fall from height, such as tools and equipment. Use warning signs to keep people out of dangerous areas. If necessary, use a debris net or catch platform for additional protection.
- Prevent slips and trips. This includes wearing slip-resistant footwear, keeping walkways clear, and cleaning up spills immediately.
- Use appropriate fall protection when working at height.
- Know how to recognize the symptoms of a brain injury. These can include headache, drowsiness, blurry vision, different sized pupils, confusion or agitation, difficulty thinking clearly, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
- Learn first aid so you can respond quickly in the event of a head injury. The Red Cross offers online and in-person classes that can be tailored to your workplace.
- Use the hashtag #ChangeYourMind on your social media accounts to raise awareness about brain injuries. BIAA offers some social media samples to get you started.
- Share stories from brain injury survivors. The Brain Injury Association blog features personal stories from people living with brain injuries and their families.
- Host a lunch-and-learn screening of the movie Concussion. Afterward, engage workers in a discussion about the movie.