You Might Be Surprised by this Report’s Most Common Cause of Workplace Injuries

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The Travelers Companies, Inc. released their “Injury Impact Report”, which highlights common causes of work related accidents and injuries. Some workplace accidents and related injuries were higher in specific industries, understandably so.

Travelers is the country’s biggest workers’ compensation carrier, and they analyzed over 1.5 million work comp claims that were filed between 2010 and 2014. They found that a third, 32 percent, of workplace injuries were caused by accidents from mishandling materials. Slips, trips and falls made up 16 percent of workplace injuries, and “struck by” injuries accounted for 10 percent while injuries involving tools made up 7 percent. Cumulative or repetitive trauma kinds of injuries made up 4 percent of workplace injuries.

The study found that material handling injuries were most common in retail and manufacturing industries, and though they were common among all industries they accounted for 40 percent of injuries in those industries in particular. Motor vehicle accidents were the most common cause of injury for the oil and gas industry. Eye injuries were more frequent in manufacturing and construction work and falling from heights was another injury common to construction and retail sectors.

The report noted that strains and sprains were one of the most prevalent injuries to occur from accidents at work, and employees who suffered these injuries missed an average of 57 days of work. Another common injury resulting from a work related accident was a cut or puncture, and employees missed an average of 24 days of work with those injuries. Other common injuries that saw significant time away from work were inflammation, with an average of 91 days out of work, and fractures with an average of 78 days out of work. Another injury that commonly resulted from the list of frequent causes of injuries at work was chronic illness.

Severe injuries like amputations, dislocations, electrocutions or crushing/multiple trauma injuries typically saw the highest costs, but they were also not as common. Material handling, the more frequent cause of injury at work, more often causes an employee to suffer a strain or sprain, cuts, punctures, contusions, inflammation or fractures. According to the study, strains and sprains account for 30 percent of the most common injuries at work and averaged $17,000 per claim. Cuts or punctures made up 19 percent of claims and averaged $8,200 per claim. Contusions made up 12 percent and averaged $8,000 per claim. Inflammation and fractures each made up 5 percent and averaged a cost of $24,500 and $42,400 respectively. To compare those costs to costs of less frequent injuries, the report identified amputations as the most expensive injury, with claims averaging $102,500. Dislocations averaged $97,100 and electrocutions averaged $55,200.

Companies spend billions of dollars a year on workers’ compensation costs and many millions of workers are injured every year. Knowing the common causes of accidents and related injuries at work may help cut down on the number of people who are injured or the severity of their injuries, resulting in lowered costs for their employers as well as a shorter time away from work for the employee.

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