Most serious workplace injuries cost companies $62B per year, data shows

Report reveals top 10 causes of disabling injuries

Posted January 25, 2016

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.

According to the data, 10 leading causes of the most disabling work-related injuries account for more than $51 billion, or 82.5 percent of the total cost of $62 billion. The 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index can be seen at lmi.co/WSI2016.

Top 10 causes of the most disabling U.S. workplace injuries:

  • Overexertion involving outside source — 24.4 percent
  • Falls on same level — 16.4 percent
  • Falls to lower level — 8.7 percent
  • Struck by object or equipment — 8.6 percent
  • Other exertions or bodily reactions — 6.7 percent
  • Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle — 4.8 percent
  • Slip or trip without fall — 3.8 percent
  • Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects — 3.2 percent
  • Struck against object or equipment — 3.0 percent
  • Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks — 2.9 percent

“We rank the top 10 causes of the most serious, nonfatal workplace injuries by their direct costs each year to help companies improve safety, which better protects both employees and the bottom-line,” notes Debbie Michel, general manager, Liberty Mutual’s National Insurance Casualty operation. “Workplace accidents impact employees’ physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. They also financially burden employers, who pay all of the medical costs related to a workplace injury, together with some portion of an injured employee’s pay. Besides these direct costs, workplace injuries also produce such indirect costs for employers as hiring temporary employees, lost productivity, quality disruptions, and damage to a company’s employee engagement and external reputation.”

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, according to Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety.

“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.”

Study methodology

The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index is compiled based on information from Liberty Mutual, the BLS, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Liberty Mutual researchers examine BLS injury data to determine which events caused employees to miss six or more days of work, and then rank those events by total workers compensation costs.


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