Liberty Mutual has released their 2017 Workplace Safety Index, which highlights the most pressing areas of risk in the workplace so that employers and employees can better prepare for them to protect employees and reduce costs. The list goes over the top ten causes of serious but nonfatal work injuries and has been published for 17 years now. This year’s list looks at a combination of Liberty Mutual data, and data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social insurance from 2014, the most recent year for which this kind of valid data is available.
Researchers looked at data from the BLS and determined which incidents caused workers to be out for six or more days, then ranked those incidents based on cost to employers. In all, injuries that caused employees to miss six or more days of work cost employers $59.9 billion, over a billion dollars a week. The top ten leading causes of these kinds of work-related injuries account for $49.9 billion, or about 83 percent, of total costs. The top five injuries accounted for $38.23 billion, or 64.8 percent, of total costs to employers.
The top cause of injuries that caused workers to be out for six or more days or work was overexertion involving outside sources (lifting, pushing, carrying, etc.) and cost $13.79 billion in direct costs. Falls on the same level came in second, costing employers $10.62 million. Falls to a lower level came in as the third most cause of injuries at work but cost employers significantly less than either of the first two causes of injury, totaling $5.50 million. Fourth on the list was struck by an object or equipment, and other exertions or bodily reactions ranked fifth, costing employers $2.89 billion. The other causes of injury on the list were roadway incidents involving land vehicles, slips or trips without a fall, caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, struck against an object or equipment, and repetitive motions from micro-tasks. The second half of the list cost employers 19.5 percent of their total costs, or $11.7 million.
The study did find that of the top ten causes of serious injuries at work, overexertion incidents decreased from previous study data. Falls on the same level and roadway incidents increased from the previous year’s study.