An analysis of data from more than 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims submitted from 2015 through 2019 reveals that 35% of all workplace injuries occur within a worker’s first year of employment.
The Travelers, a workers’ compensation carrier, analyzed more than 1.5 million claims across several years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and found that overexertion, at 27%, was the leading cause of those first-year injuries.
Slips, trips and falls came second at 22%, followed by struck by an object (14%), cuts and punctures (6%), caught-in or -between hazards (6%) and motor vehicle crashes (6%).
And those first-year injuries resulted in more than six million missed workdays, representing 37% of all missed workdays.
The most common injuries occurring in the first year were:
- strains and sprains at 38%
- fractures at 13%
- contusions at 9%
- cuts and puncture wounds at 6%
- inflammation at 6%, and
- dislocations at 6%.
Amputations, multiple traumas, electric shocks and dislocations were the most expensive claims involving first-year employees, accounting for 26% of total claim costs while counting for only 8% of total claims.
The restaurant industry was most affected by first-year injuries with 53% of claims and 47% of claim costs. Construction was second, with 48% of claims and 52% of claim costs, followed by services (43% and 38%, respectively) and transportation (39% and 41%).
Injuries in all employees, industries = 17M lost workdays
For all employees and industries, the injuries analyzed kept workers out of work for more than 17 million days.
Somewhat mirroring the first-year injuries, the most common of all injuries were:
- overexertion (29%)
- slips, trips and falls (23%)
- struck by an object (14%), and
- motor vehicle crashes (5%).
The construction industry had the highest average of missed workdays with 98. Transportation was second with 88 missed workdays followed by services with 69 missed workdays.
For all workers and industries, the most common injuries were:
- strains and sprains (38%)
- fractures (13%)
- contusions (8%)
- inflammation (7%)
- dislocations (7%), and
- cuts and puncture wounds (5%).
The most expensive of those were dislocations, head trauma and fractures.
Finally, the body parts most commonly affected were:
- lower back (13%)
- shoulders (12%)
- knees (10%)
- fingers (6%), and
- wrists (6%).