Overexertion, falls remain top workplace injuries

Overexertion, falls and struck-by hazards are among the costliest workplace injuries, according to Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Inc.’s 2020 workplace safety index released Tuesday.

Overexertion and falls from the same level have consistently been the top two causes of injuries, said the Boston-based insurer. And while the overall number of serious workplace injuries has decreased over the past 20 years, medical costs have increased above inflation, according to the report.

The index is based on 2017 injuries and illnesses that required more than five days away from work. Overexertion from handling objects accounted for nearly a quarter of all workplace injuries and cost employers $13.98 billion, according to the index. Falls on the same level accounted for 18% of injuries at a cost of $10.84 billion, and struck-by injuries from objects or equipment made up 10% of injuries, costing $6.12 billion.

The other costliest injuries in the top 10 include:

  • No. 4: Falls to lower level; $7.71 billion
  • Other exertions or bodily reactions; $4.69 billion
  • Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicles; $3.56 billion
  • Slip or trip without fall; $2.06 billion
  • Repetitive motions involving microtasks; $2.05 billion
  • Colliding with objects or equipment; $2 billion
  • Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects; $1.92 billion.

The index also looked at the most common injuries in different industry sectors. Overexertion from outside sources was the most prevalent injury in health care and social assistance (30.1%), manufacturing (20.3%), professional services (18.4%), retail (28.5%), transportation and warehousing (22.7%) and wholesale (28.2%). In construction and hospitality and leisure, falls from the same level caused 24.1% and 30.6% of injuries, respectively.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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