Traumatic Brain Injury in the Workplace

Can J Neurol Sci. 2017 Sep;44(5):518-524. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2017.43. Epub 2017 May 22.


Objectives: Work-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are not well documented in the literature. Published studies mostly rely on worker databases that fail to provide clinically relevant information. Our objective is to describe the characteristics of hospitalized patients and their work-related TBI.

Methods: We used the Québec provincial trauma and TBI program databases to identify all patients with a diagnosis of work-related TBI admitted to the Montreal General Hospital, a level 1 trauma center, between 2000 and 2014. Data from their medical records were extracted using a predetermined information sheet. Simple descriptive statistics (means and percentages) were used to summarize the data.

Results: A total of 285 cases were analyzed. Workplace TBI patients were middle-aged (mean, 43.62 years), overwhelmingly male (male:female 18:1), mostly healthy, and had completed a high school level education. Most workers were from the construction industry; falling was the most common mechanism of injury. The majority of patients (76.8%) presented with a mild TBI; only a minority (14%) required neurosurgery. The most common finding on computed tomography was skull fracture. The median length of hospitalization was 7 days, after which most patients were discharged directly home. A total of 8.1% died of their injuries.

Conclusions: Our study found that most hospitalized victims of work-related TBI had mild injury; however, some required neurosurgical intervention and a non-negligible proportion died of their injury. Improving fall prevention, accurately document helmet use and increasing the safety practice in the construction industry may help decrease work-related TBI burden.

Keywords: brain injury - traumatic; head trauma; neurotrauma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / surgery
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale / statistics & numerical data
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Workplace*
  • Young Adult