Learn About Construction’s Specific Risks and how Contractors Can Protect Workers 

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur to anyone at any time. It’s usually the result of a violent blow or jolt to the head, like from a car accident or fall, either at home or at work. A serious fall can happen to anyone at just about any time. According to CDC, these types of brain injuries are most common among older people. Those aged over 75 are most at risk for TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths, accounting for 32% of hospitalizations and 28% of deaths. While age is certainly a factor, it’s not the only one. Those employed in some industries, like construction and field services, face more potential exposure and risk. 


Workers in construction and field services often work on ladders or scaffolding, around heavy equipment and in places where materials are being moved. According to the CDC, the construction industry alone has the greatest number of both fatal and nonfatal work-related TBI among all US workplaces. From 2003 to 2010, 2,210 construction workers died because of a TBI (a rate of 2.6 per 100,000 full time equivalent workers). These deaths represented 25% of all construction fatalities and 24% of all work-related TBI fatalities among all industries during that period. 

Sadly, these kinds of injuries can be life-threatening at worst or life-changing at best, and the road to recovery can be a long one. That’s why workplace safety is so important. 

Construction Safety Risks Outweigh All Other Industries 

There is no way to prevent 100% of traumatic brain injuries on the job, but having a safety-first approach makes a real difference. 

The construction industry has become safer over time, but it still carries an outsized risk of injury related to other industries. According to a study by the Center for Construction Research and Training that reviewed on-the-job injury statistics over time, “the injury rate in construction has declined steadily since 2003 but was still 29% higher than all industries combined in 2019.” 

That’s an overall positive trend, but it still highlights the real risk of injury for those in construction. In some areas, the trend is worsening. The same report found that falls to a lower level at construction sites actually increased 41% in the last eight years of available data. 

OSHA statistics may explain this sobering statistic. In 2022, three of the five most frequent OSHA citations were for violations related to potential falls, with overall fall protection being the most common. 

  1. Fall protection: 5,915 violations 
  2. Hazard communication: 2,639 violations 
  3. Ladders: 2,449 violations 
  4. Respiratory protection: 2,412 violations 
  5. Scaffolding: 2,251 violations 

Violations around fall protection didn’t just top the list in 2022. They’ve been the most common issue for over a decade. Of course, not all these violations were on construction sites but at least some were, including fall protection, ladders and scaffolding. And that means there’s significant room for improvement. 

Construction Companies Must Remain Vigilant 

So, the bad news is that some construction companies haven’t applied the appropriate and required focus on workplace safety, which has likely resulted in some preventable brain and other injuries. 

The upside is those much-needed improvements in workplace safety around preventing falls, increasing ladder protection and addressing scaffolding accidents will help safeguard construction workers from a variety of injuries. 

A key to better workplace safety is providing and reinforcing training. When construction companies stress safety training it becomes part of the day-to-day culture. This is especially vital for those workers with less experience on the job as most construction accidents are associated with employees under 35. 

One way to make training less expensive and time-consuming and more accessible is to leverage an online learning management system (LMS). This learning technology can enable you to offer employees safety and other training without having to schedule classes, arrange for a trainer and find a physical location. It’s accessible via a mobile device, and it can track and retain the completion of legally required courses. Using the power of an LMS to deliver more and better training is one way construction companies can leverage HR technology to make the industry safer. 

With any construction-related injury, prevention is always light years better than cure. When the injury is serious and potentially life-threatening, like TBI, minimizing risk is job one. Safeguarding worker safety should always be top of mind, but March being Brain Injury Awareness month gives us the opportunity to bring it front and center.