Workplace injuries and accidents that cause employees to miss six or more days of work cost U.S. employers nearly $62 billion in 2013, the most recent year for which statistically valid injury data is available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance, according to the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. That is more than $1 billion per week spent on the most disabling, nonfatal workplace injuries.
Top 10 Causes of Injury
Overexertion, which includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing objects, ranked first among the leading causes of disabling injury. It cost businesses $15.08 billion in direct costs and accounted for nearly a quarter of the overall national burden. Falls on the same level, where workers either fell to the work surface or they fell into or against objects, ranked second with direct costs of $10.17 billion and accounted for 16.4 percent of the total injury burden. Falls to a lower level, which includes falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs, ranked third at $5.4 billion and 8.7 percent of the burden, and struck by object or equipment ranked fourth at $5.31 billion and 8.6 percent. Other exertions or bodily reactions ranked fifth at $4.15 billion and 6.7 percent of the total injury burden.
The remaining five injury causes combined, which includes auto accidents, slip or trip without fall; caught in/compressed by equipment or objects; struck against objects or equipment; and repetitive motions involving micro-tasks, accounted for 17.7 percent of the total direct cost of disabling injuries.
Now in its 12th year, the study’s ranking of the top leading causes of the most serious workplace accidents is remarkably consistent with earlier findings.
“By highlighting the direct costs of the most serious workplace accidents, the annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index informs the national agenda on workplace safety,” notes Dr. Ian Noy, director, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. “It also provides a key tool for individual companies to benchmark safety performance, and focus improvement efforts and resources on the most pressing areas.”