Injuries and accidents in the workplace are a major cause of concern for employers and can be costly for businesses as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013, workplace accidents that caused employees to miss more than six days of work, cost U.S. employers almost $62 billion. That equals over a billion dollars a week spent by businesses on workers’ compensation claims.
Each year, Liberty Mutual compiles a workplace safety index that identifies the most common types of injuries and accidents so businesses can better prepare for possible problems. The following are the top 10 causes of serious, non-fatal workplace injuries and the expected costs for businesses in 2016.
10. Repetitive motion involving micro-tasks.
These injuries cost about $1.82 billion and include injuries from small tasks, like looking back and forth between papers and a computer screen all day.
- Struck against object or equipment.
The cost to employers is about $1.85 billion and applies to workers hurt by forcible impact or contact, like bumping into something or jamming a finger in equipment.
- Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects.
An average cost of $1.97 billion for employers, these injuries stem from workers getting caught in equipment or machinery that’s still running. That can include machines that are rolling, shifting or sliding as well.
- Slip or trip without fall.
Injuries of this nature cost businesses around $2.35 billion. Sometimes workers slip or trip but don’t actually fall to the ground. They catch themselves before hitting the ground but can suffer an injury like twisting a knee or straining an arm or should while preventing a fall.
- Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles.
Nearly $2.35 billion is spent on accidents involving vehicles. The injured worker could be the driver, a passenger or a nearby pedestrian.
- Other exertions or bodily reactions.
These injuries can cost around $4.15 billion for employers. Injuries under this category stem from motions like bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing or stepping. The repetitive actions can lead to injury over time.
- Struck by object or equipment.
With over $5.31 billion spent, this covers many different injury possibilities, from getting hit by an object to getting caught in something, like a machine or door.
- Falls to lower level.
Injuries that include falling to a lower level, cost employers about $5.40 billion. Included in this category is any type of fall from some height, whether that be falling from a roof or falling from a step stool.
2. Falls on same level.
Falling on the same level is even more costly, with businesses spending around $10.17 billion. These kinds of falls include tripping while walking or toppling over while in a chair.
- Overexertion involving outside source.
Overexertion is the number one most expensive injury for employers, with costs reaching $15.08 billion. Injuries in this category come from accidents where the worker over exerts themselves by lifting, pulling, pushing, holding, carrying, wielding or throwing an object. Often, the object being handled is heavier than what the worker should be handling or is being handled improperly. The majority of accidents in this category are a result of lifting and cause sprains, strains, and tears.
While this list is compiled each year, it is up to risk managers to work within their companies to come up with ways to minimize injuries, lost work time and workers’ compensation claims. The information can help identify the best course of action to reduce the number of injuries and accidents that commonly occur in the workplace.