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The 10 Most Costly Workplace Injuries

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Top 10 lists can be entertaining, but they can also be eye-opening and informative. Take, for example, the 10 leading causes of workplace injuries in the United States.

The 2014 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index shows that the 10 most disabling injuries added up to $59.58 billion a year in direct workers’ compensation costs. That equates to well over $1 billion per week.

The index, compiled by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, used information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance from 2012 – the most recent year for which the data were available – to find which events caused employees to miss six or more days of work and then ranked those causes by total workers’ compensation costs.

Below is the list of 10 leading injury causes, followed by the percentage accounted for by each, and then the total costs in billions:
1. Overexertion involving outside source (lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, throwing): 25.3%; $15.1
2. Falls on same level: 15.4%; $9.19
3. Struck by object of equipment: 8.9%; $5.3
4. Falls to lower level: 8.6%; $5.12
5. Other exertions or bodily reactions (bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, stepping, kneeling, sitting, standing, walking): 7.2%; $4.27
6. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle: 5.3%; $3.18
7. Slip or trip without fall: 3.6%; $2.17
8. Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects: 3.5%; $2.1
9. Repetitive motions including micro-tasks: 3.1%; $1.84, and
10. Struck against object or equipment: 2.9%; $1.76.

It should be noted that these categories account for 83.8% because there are additional categories beyond the top 10.

The previous index from Liberty Mutual stated that the top 10 injuries in 2011 accounted for $55.4 billion a year in workers’ comp costs – making an increase of 7.55% from year to year.

Tagged in: OSHA
Mr. Griffith has a received his bachelors degree in Environmental Health from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and president of Workplace Safety & Health Company. He has over 35 years of industrial hygiene, safety, loss control and consulting experience. Chemical monitoring, noise measurement, program development and management, risk assessment and computer management of health and safety data are areas of particular strength. Mr. Griffith is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) at the local and national level. He is also active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

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