The construction industry has the greatest number of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among U.S. workplaces, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) reports that the data show that 2210 occupational TBI deaths occurred between 2003 and 2010. The NIOSH study analyzed fatal TBI data in the construction industry, extracted from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Fatality rates were compared among industries, cause of death, and demographics.

According to the National Safety Council, traumatic brain injuries represented one-quarter of all construction fatalities during the eight-year study period. More than half of fatal work-related traumatic injuries were a result of falls – particularly from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds. Structural iron and steel workers and roofers had the highest fatal TBI rate, and TBIs related to falls caused most of their deaths. Workers 65 and older were nearly four times more likely to sustain a fatal traumatic brain injury than workers 25 to 34 years old. Also, workers at organizations with fewer than 20 employees were more than 2.5 times more likely to die from a traumatic brain injury than those who worked for organizations with more than 100 employees. The TBI fatality rate was higher for foreign-born than for native-born workers.

The study provided the first national profile of fatal TBIs occurring in the U.S. workplace. TBIs remain one of the major causes of deaths in the construction industry.