Top 10 Causes of Most Serious Workplace Injuries

April 11, 2019

The annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index documents the top 10 causes of the most serious workplace injuries – those causing an employee to miss five or more days from work – and ranks them by their direct cost to employers, which consists of medical and lost-wage payments.

The insurer’s report also identifies the top causes of serious workplace injuries by key industries.

According to the 2019 Liberty Mutual index, the 10 most costly causes of workplace injuries and illnesses are:

Injury Cause: Cost (billions): Percentage:
Overexertion involving outside sources $13.11 23.65%
Falls on same level $10.38 18.72%
Struck by object or equipment $5.22 9.42%
Falls to lower level $4.98 8.99%
Other exertions or bodily reactions $3.69 6.65%
Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicle $2.70 4.88%
Slip or trip without falling $2.18 3.93%
Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects $1.93 3.48%
Repetitive motions involving microtasks $1.59 2.87%
Struck against object or equipment $1.15 2.07%
Cost of the top 10 most disabling workplace injuries $46.93 84.66%
Total cost of the most disabling workplace injuries $55.43 100%

The 2019 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index is the first to also report the causes and costs of the most serious workplace injuries for eight specific industries that account for a high proportion of all workplace injuries: Manufacturing, Healthcare, Construction, Professional Services, Retail, Wholesale, Transportation & Warehousing, Leisure & Hospitality.

The top causes by key industries:

Industry Ranking of Cause of Loss
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
All Industries Overexertion, outside sources Falls, same level Struck by object or equipment Falls, to lower level Other exertions or bodily reactions
Construction Falls, to lower level Struck by object or equipment Overexertion, outside sources Falls, same level Slip or trip without a fall
Prof. Services Falls, same level Overexertion, outside sources Falls, to lower level Roadway incidents Struck by object or equipment
Manufacturing Overexertion, outside sources Falls, same level Struck by object or equipment Caught in, compressed by equipment Repetitive motions, micro tasks
Healthcare Overexertion, outside sources Falls, same level Intentional injury by person Roadway incidents Other exertions or bodily reactions
Retail Overexertion, outside sources Falls, same level Struck by object or equipment Other exertions or bodily reactions Falls, to lower level
Transport & Warehousing Overexertion, outside sources Falls, same level Roadway incidents Other exertions or bodily reactions Falls, to lower level
Wholesale Overexertion, outside sources Struck by object or equipment Falls, to lower level Falls, same level Other exertions or bodily reactions
Leisure & Hospitality Falls, same level Overexertion, outside sources Struck by object or equipment Struck against object or equipment Other exertions or bodily reactions

James Merendino, general manager, Risk Control, National Insurance, Liberty Mutual, said the index helps employers understand the root causes of the most serious workplace injuries they face. “Only then can they effectively mitigate and manage these through work design, system controls, technology, training, and strategic risk management. Insurance companies and brokers can be a key ally in these efforts,” he said.

The annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index is based on information from Liberty Mutual, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance. The 2019 index is based on non-fatal 2016 injury data, with more than five days away from work. To allow for cost development, every index has been based on claims data three years prior to publication.

Source: Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index

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