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A workplace head injury is one of the most serious of all on-the-job injuries. A blow or a jolt to the head can disrupt the normal function of the brain. This is called a brain injury or concussion. The severity of the injury may not be initially evident, therefore it should be reported right away to your employer and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Every brain injury is different, which means that some symptoms appear right away while others may not show up for days or weeks. Depending on the symptoms, this may make it difficult for people to realize that they are experiencing difficulties. Just as symptoms can be different, so can recovery times, which can last for days, weeks or longer. Some of the danger signs following a head injury may include, but are not limited to:

  • Headaches that increase in severity
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Can’t be wakened
  • One pupil dilated more than the other
  • Convulsions
  • Slurred speech
  • Becoming more and more confused.

Other symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Low-grade headaches that won’t go away
  • Difficulty remembering things, paying attention or concentrating
  • Slowness in thinking
  • Feeling tired and having a lack of energy
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to sounds and light
  • Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Mood changes
  • Eyesight problems.

The main priorities following a head injury are to:

  1. Seek medical attention
  2. Report the injury to your employer.

Immediate medical attention and/or investigation will ensure that you receive the appropriate care that you need. If you feel that your symptoms are not being addressed, or your clinicians are not referring you for treatment, seek a second opinion.

It is important to ensure that you report a head injury to your employer when it occurs. Many head injuries do not cause significant symptoms initially and you may be able to continue your regular work duties for a period of time. This makes it more difficult to establish a continuity of complaint and successfully securing benefits and services from the WSIB, should the need arise. Any delays of reporting the injury and seeking medical attention may cause a WSIB adjudicator to determine that there is no proof of injury, and to deny your claim.

So, when should you report a head injury? Immediately!

If you have any further questions about reporting workplace injuries to the WSIB, contact our Labour Law group.


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This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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