Top 10 Leading Causes of Disabling Workplace Injuries

A 2016 Workplace Safety Index published by Liberty Mutual Research Institute found that United States employers paid out approximately $62 billion for their employees’ disabling nonfatal workplace injuries during 2013. This annual report is based on data gathered from workers compensation claims submitted to the company through workers and their workers’ compensation lawyers. Data obtained from the National Academy of Social Insurance and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is also used to generate their report.

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Top 10 Leading Causes of Disabling Workplace Injuries

Liberty Mutual’s report can help Illinois companies take steps to improve safety to protect their employees while protecting their bottom line. Each year, the Institute ranks the top ten leading causes of the most serious workplace injuries according to what their direct costs are. It is important to note that while only direct costs are factored into this study, indirect costs related to workplace injuries are also costly. Indirect costs related to workplace injuries include:

  • Lost productivity
  • Hiring temporary employees
  • Disruptions to quality
  • Damage to employee relationships
  • Tarnished reputation to the public

Top 10 Leading Causes

The criteria for determining the top 10 causes of the most disabling work injuries included time missed from work because of the injury. These top 10 injuries were responsible for $51 billion out of the $62 billion paid out and include:

  • Overexertion – Injuries that occurred from lifting, carrying or pushing heavy objects cost employers more than $15 billion
  • Falls on the same level – Injuries as a result of tripping or slipping over objects, wet areas or other hazardous areas cost employers almost $10.2 billion
  • Falls to a lower level – Injuries related to falling off ladders or scaffolding cost employers $5.4 million
  • Being struck by an object or equipment – Injuries from falling or flying objects, equipment malfunctions or improper use of equipment cost employers $5.3 billion
  • Body reactions and other exertions – Injuries related to trying to avoid being injured cost employers $4.2 billion
  • Roadway incidents – Accidents with motorized land vehicles cost employers $3.0 billion
  • Slips or trips without falling – Injuries that occurred trying to avoid slipping or tripping cost employers $2.4 billion
  • Being caught in or compressed by equipment – Injuries related to hands, clothing or hair becoming caught or being crushed by equipment cost employers $2.0 billion
  • Struck against equipment or object – Injuries from falling against work equipment cost $1.9 billion
  • Repetitive stress injuries – Injuries related to repetitive movements, such as those required to perform microtasks cost employers $1.8 billion.

Companies can use the information from this report to develop strategies and provide training that can prevent many of these injuries from occurring.