The explosive hits experienced by football players may be more headline-friendly, but the truth is most concussions people experience don’t happen on the field. They happen at home, on the road, and at work.
However, the increased attention to brain injuries thanks to the NFL’s “concussion crisis” may be helping people recognize when they experience a concussion in their day to day life. According to new data, workers are increasingly reporting concussions sustained at the workplace over the past few years.
SFM, a workers compensation insurer covering the Midwest says they’ve seen a 48% increase in reported concussions that caused employees to lose time from work in just the time from 2012 to 2014.
Concussions experienced on the job are typically caused by slips, falls, or hits to the head by falling objects at work. They are a common issue that has been causing injury to workers since the beginning of time, but the growing awareness of brain injuries in the past few years have made many labor and human resource communities increase education about the injuries.
While athletes make up a large number of concussion cases, brain injuries are also common among construction workers, firefighters, police officers, loading dock workers, and delivery drivers.
As with all brain injuries, the most important thing to do when someone is suspected of receiving a concussion is to make sure they are properly evaluated by a medical professional. In the workplace, it is also important to report the incident to the employer.
Unfortunately, because symptoms often don’t arise for hours or days after the injury, this often doesn’t occur. This can complicate matters for those seeking workers’ compensation benefits, because it can be difficult to directly tie the injury to work if it is not immediately reported.
If a worker experiences a concussion in your workplace, they may need to miss work or only return with limited work orders depending on the professional opinion of the worker’s physician. These limited work orders could include prohibiting the worker from driving, operating machinery, climbing ladders, or lifting heavy objects. They may also limit work hours, or require rest breaks while the worker recovers.
These injuries are typically minor, especially in the workplace. Most will recover within a few days as their symptoms subside. However, every case is different and some may need longer to recover or may have more serious symptoms. Without an evaluation by a medical professional, it is impossible to know exactly how severe the injury may really be.