The human brain is both incredibly resilient and incredibly fragile. Some people walk away from major car accidents without a scratch. Others trip and end up with a debilitating concussion.
Most of us never imagine that a brain injury could happen to us. But in reality, 3.2 to 5.3 million Americans live with long-term disabilities resulting from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Worse, one in four mild TBIs happens in the workplace.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your employees are working safely every day. Here's why you should participate in Brain Injury Awareness Month this March.
Impact of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The scary thing about TBIs is that their impact is difficult to predict. The brain is responsible for managing every other bodily function, both conscious and subconscious. The impact of the injury depends on its location, its severity, and the patient in question.
For example, a moderate to severe TBI can result in temporary or permanent motor deficits or disabilities, including:
- Vision problems
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Problems walking, talking, or swallowing
- Problems with fine motor skills, such as holding a pen or buttoning a shirt
- Difficulty moving or carrying objects
- Chronic pain
- Difficulty regulating body temperature
- Loss of control of bowel or bladder functions
It can also result in various cognitive effects, including:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Perseveration, the abnormal persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act
- Language processing issues
- Executive functioning issues, including poor abstract thinking, limited planning ability, poor rule acquisition (determining right from wrong), etc.
It can also have a major psychological impact, resulting in anything from chronic depression to poor mood regulation to aggression to lack of inhibition.
Regardless of the effect, the fallout of a TBI is enormous. The lifetime cost of a TBI, including direct and indirect medical treatment, is an estimated $76.5 billion. The cost of fatal TBIs and severe TBIs requiring hospitalization account for 90% of these costs.
Change Your Mind Campaign
This is why the Brain Injury Association of American (BIAA) leads the nation in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month every March – to raise public awareness and take steps to protect Americans and their loved ones from TBIs.
For 2018-2020, the campaign theme is Change Your Mind, with the goal of educating the public about the incidence of brain injuries and the needs of individuals recovering from TBIs and the families who support them.
The importance of the campaign cannot be overstated. Someone sustains a brain injury every nine seconds in the U.S., and every day, 137 people die of brain injuries.
As an employer who values your people, leaving your employees at risk – and leaving their families to struggle for years to come – isn’t acceptable.
Preparing for Brain Injury Awareness Month
If your safety team is ramping up for Brain Injury Awareness Month, it’s a good idea to prepare training materials to help ensure your employees have the information they need to stay safe. Pair it with a brown bag lunch discussion about brain injuries and how to stay safe at work.
We can’t provide the bags or the lunch, but we can make it easier than ever to develop and deliver training materials, with safety training software that allows you to track employee engagement and monitor progress in one easy interface.