Safety and OSHA News

Top 10 workplace injuries that affect the bottom line


Which types of on-the-job injuries cause employees to miss the most time from work?

Liberty Mutual Insurance has released its annual Workplace Safety Index that identifies the leading causes of the most disabling workplace injuries.

Overall, the estimated direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs for these top ten injuries totaled $48.6 billion in 2006.

These 10 categories account for 87.9% of the cost burden of disabling workplace injuries.

Here’s the breakdown on the top 10:

  1. Overexertion (injuries caused by excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding or throwing): $12.4B, 25.7%
  2. Fall on the same level (such as slips and trips): $6.4B, 13.3%
  3. Fall to lower level: $5.3B, 10.8%
  4. Bodily reaction (injuries caused from slipping or tripping without falling): $4.8B, 10.0%
  5. Struck by object (such as a tool falling on a worker from above): $4.3B, 8.9%
  6. Struck against object (such as a worker walking into a door): $2.5B, 5.1%
  7. Highway incident: $2.4B, 4.9%
  8. Caught in/compressed by: $2.1B, 4.4%
  9. Repetitive motion (injuries due to repeated stress or strain): $2.0B, 4.0%, and
  10. Assaults/violent acts: $0.4B, 0.9%.

Between 1998 and 2006, the costs of repetitive motion injuries declined the most: 35.3%. The costs of fall on the same level and fall to lower level each showed the largest increase: 17.9%.

Have you had success recently in reducing any of these types of injuries? If so, let us know about it in the Comments Box below.

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  1. Mandatory stretching has reducd our muscle strain injuries dramatically.

  2. K. Hamm says:

    It will be interesting to see how (or if) the downturn in the economy affects W.C. claims. If nothing else, additional stress can cause carelessness.

  3. I guess I was disappointed that this is old information (2006). Is there anything more recent?

  4. Charles Crayton says:

    Identifying high risk elements of the job and emiminating those high risk elements is a win for the employee and employer.
    Eliminating workplace stress factors is a key to eliminating Injury & Illness cases

  5. K. Hill says:

    I see it affecting claims because employees facing lay off will be more apt to report a fraudulent claim that cannot be proven it was not work related. Then they hire the attorney that will go after a nice settlement for them. I feel that to many employees abuse the system and it has been my experience that the insurance carrier doesn’t do enough to fight for the employer. How many times have you heard, “It will just be cheaper to settle”, then look at your renewal rates. Work Comp claims can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

  6. Bob Shew says:

    I initiated an incentive program in an effort to reduce injuries in a major hospital maintenance department. Every month we would have a drawing for cash prizes. If someone was injured in a shop, the entire shop would be ineligible to win for the month. A large individual prize would be awarded at the end of the year, everyone without an injury for the year was eligible. To encourage reporting injuries I didn’t count an injury unless it resulted in a loss workday. The success was overwheling as injuries were reduced 80%. A win win for everyone.

  7. J. Peterson says:

    I do not agree with the incentive programs. I worked for a large (4000 employees plus) corporation in which there was an incentive program started. It was found that injuries were still occurring but because of peer pressure they were not being reported. A good example of this is I went into a department and seen an employee with a cast on his arm, upon asking what happened he informed me that he had a motorcycle wreck. Later that week his wife (my wife’s second cousin) told me that he had fallen at work but did not want to affect his department’s safety incentive bonus so he reported it on his health care fraudulently.
    A further look into our health insurance revealed our health insurance costs went up almost the same amount our worker’s comp ccosts injuries went down.
    I will stand by the thoght process that you must change behavior and get buy in at the lowest level if you want true reductions in costs, claims frequency and claims severity.

  8. Nichols says:

    We have a maintenance manager who took the initiative in his department to improve the safety of our entire plant. He introduced a quarterly review for everyone who works for him. The receive points based on several different areas of performance, one of which is safety. They are required to find and report a least 1 hazard per month, if they do not then they loose points. Ultimately the points they earn during the year determines how much of a bonus they are eligable for at the end of the year. The quarterly review helps them to keep track of how well they are doing.

  9. I have seen an increase in claims in the last 3 months, we projected that it would happen with the downturn of economy. We have reported most of the claims to the fraud division after an investigation showed cause for further information. The ones that were real where minor incidents. We have also noted an increase in violence and confrontations in the workplace which in all cases personnel were dealing with economic and personal issues off the projects and taking it out on thier fellow employees. We have taken many new approaches to this sudden increase including more of a hands on and personal approach. We are encourageing management and our safety personnel to contact each supervisor either on the phone or in person when applicable and discuss concerns and offer to give them the support they need. We are also encouraging management and supervisors to get out of the office and visit with employees on the floor or in the field to give employees more support and make themselves available for questions and concerns. People need some encouragement during these difficult times. I consult with many different industries and have found all of them to be experiencing similar issues.

  10. Bob, I like your idea. My biggest concern as I started reading your response was that it would discourage the reporting of injuries but I think you answered that. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Dean Caudle says:

    Prediction: People know how to maxamize the workplace catagories. I think we will start to see more repeatative motion injuries because this is the most difficult to underatand and easiest to report. I have the same experience as J. Paterson; further, if you ask staff to report near miss events you should see a reduction in serious incidents. If you reward near miss reporting you will help to drive the behavior changes we all need.

  12. Many of you point out good things for creating a safe work environment. Although all of them have good points, I would like to suggest that a safe work environment comes first from hiring the right people, doing background checks and encouraging company buy in from all levels within the company. Any safety program needs honest reporting and supervisors and managers need to be held accountable for accurate reporting. A good employee should want to be safe at all times.


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