Workplace injuries are unfortunately a fairly common occurrence. According to the National Safety Council, in the United States a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds, which amounts to 540 injuries per hour. These injuries resulted in 99 million days of lost productivity annually. Strokes, in particular, pose an incredible threat to our nation’s workers. According to the National Stroke Association, nearly one-third of all strokes happen to those under age 65.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. During this month, health and heart organizations come together to raise awareness of the causes and effects of strokes. Strokes are currently the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability. Understanding how strokes happen on the job and how to prevent them can help keep workers safe.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a sudden interruption of the blood supply to the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of the arteries leading to the brain, but bleeding into the brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts can also result in a stroke. One of the biggest campaigns promoted during National Stroke Awareness Month uses the acronym FAST, which easily outlines the signs and symptoms of a stroke and how to react:
- Face: When a stroke happens, one side of the affected person’s face will droop. By asking the person to smile, one will be able to tell if a stroke has occurred.
- Arm: By asking the affected person to raise both arms, one can tell if a stroke has occurred if one arm drifts lower than the other.
- Speech: Slurred speech is typically a sign of a stroke. By asking an affected person to say a sentence, their speech will indicate if a stroke has occurred
- Time: Time is of the essence in the event of a stroke. Emergency services should be called immediately if a stroke is suspected.
Strokes in the Workplace
A number of factors can contribute to a workplace stroke; unfortunately, it’s fairly common for them to occur on the job. An employee who experiences a stroke may not be able to return to work for an extended period of time, if at all. In the case of a stroke, there must be proof that it is related to a specific work-connected accident to be considered compensable. Some of the most common causes of strokes on jobsites include:
Underlying health conditions
The main cause of a stroke in the workplace is when an underlying health condition like high blood pressure is present. Hypertension is one of the most significant risk factors for strokes and many employees are not even aware they have it.
High-Stress Work Environment
In high stress workplaces, such as construction industry jobs, workers cope with a variety of stressful work situations, including overwhelming workloads and timeline delays. Delays cost money; and, subcontractors working under tight deadlines can be forced into in unrealistic work schedules that increase the pressure to move faster. This pressure often leads to injuries or even death. Workers don’t even realize when work stress progresses beyond tension headaches and causes something as serious as a heart attack or stroke.
Workers may also struggle with anxiety or depression for years, which can begin to manifest physically as headaches, heart palpitations, panic attacks, dizziness, or exhaustion—all of which have the potential to lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Labor-Intensive Work Activities
Workers in all types of industries can suffer strokes and heart attacks caused by physical exertion from activities such as lifting heavy objects. Manual labor is physically demanding, requiring both physical strength and endurance each day. A combination of heavy lifting and long hours can cause immense physical damage internally and externally. Laborers are more likely to suffer a stroke due to heat stress and exertion.
Work related strokes could also occur after another workplace injury accident – such as suffering a stroke after the shock of a burn or from blood loss or pain of an equipment-related accident.
Houston Workplace Accident Attorneys
Many industries carry the potential for workplace accidents, injuries, and even strokes; unfortunately, not all workers are entitled to a reasonably safe workplace. If a company, supervisor, or other party contributes to the risk faced by workers, they may be liable for any resulting injuries. At Adame Garza, LLP our experienced workplace accident attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve when the unexpected happens. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.