Traumatic brain injuries from work accidents: a retrospective study

Occup Med (Lond). 2013 Jul;63(5):358-60. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqt037. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Background: The United Arab Emirates is a rapidly developing country with recent expansion in construction and manufacturing.

Aims: To investigate the occurrence and outcomes following occupational traumatic brain injury (TBI) requiring hospital admission.

Methods: Records for all TBI cases admitted to an Abu Dhabi hospital between 2005 and 2009 were reviewed. Data on mechanisms of occupational injuries, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) on admission and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) on follow-up, were analysed.

Results: Of 581 TBI cases reviewed, 56 (10%) cases were reported as occupational by either the patient or the informant accompanying the patient. All cases were male migrants, and 63% were aged 25-44. Falls accounted for 63% of cases, falling objects 34% and motor vehicle collisions 4%. Median GCS score was 13 for all cases. Median hospital stay was 7.5 days. Intensive care unit admission data were available in 47 cases, of which 34% (16) were admitted with a median stay of 5 days. GOS data were available in 95% (53) of cases, with good recovery in 81% cases, moderate-to-severe disability in 11% of cases and death in 8% (4) cases.

Conclusions: Occupational TBI requiring hospitalization is most frequently due to falls and falling objects, with potentially grave consequences. This study further highlights the urgent need to implement preventative measures to improve construction worker safety.

Keywords: Construction; UAE; brain; head injury; injury; traumatic.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / mortality*
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / mortality*
  • Brain Injuries / prevention & control
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Health / standards*
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Arab Emirates / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation