Safety and OSHA News

Top 10 causes of disabling workplace injuries and their costs

Why is workplace safety a good business investment? Because the alternative is costly, to the tune of almost $60 billion a year, as this new report shows. 

According to the annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the most disabling workplace injuries cost U.S. employers $59.87 billion a year. That’s $1.15 billion a week.

The Index calculates the top 10 causes and direct costs of workplace injuries. Overexertion involving outside sources is the No. 1 cause, accounting for 23% of the costs, or $13.79 billion. This category includes lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing objects. The rest of the top 10:

  • falls on same level, $10.62 billion, 17.7%
  • falls to lower level, $5.5 billion, 9.2%
  • struck by object or equipment, $4.43 billion, 7.4%
  • other exertions or bodily reactions, $3.89 billion, 6.5%
  • roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle, $3.7 billion, 6.2%
  • slip or trip without fall, $2.3 billion, 3.8%
  • caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, $1.95 billion, 3.3%
  • struck against object or equipment, $1.95 billion, 3.2%, and
  • repetitive motions involving micro-tasks, $1.81 billion, 3.0%.

The top 10 causes total 83.4% of the costs, or $49.92 billion of the total cost burden. The top five causes account for 63.8% of the total cost burden.

Last year, the Index put the cost of the most disabling workplace injuries at $61.88 billion. The top 10 causes remained in the same order from last to this year.

The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety develops the Index each year to identify critical risk areas so that businesses can allocate their safety resources better. The Index is developed based on information from Liberty Mutual, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance. Liberty Mutual researchers determine which events caused employees to miss six or more days of work and then rank those by total workers’ compensation costs.

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