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Workplace injuries cost U.S. employers $59 billion per year

As any employer can probably tell you, workplace accidents can affect worker productivity and the bottom line. According to Liberty Mutual, work-related injuries and illnesses cost U.S. employers a total of $59.87 billion in 2014, which is the latest statistically-valid data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance. 

What are the most common and costly types of accidents? And how can employers work to mitigate these incidents in the future?

According to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Insurance Workplace Safety Index, the top 10 causes for serious, non-fatal workplace accidents account for $49.9 billion, or 83.4 percent of the total cost. The following are these 10 causes, with the total cost for each in parenthesis:

  1. Overexertion involving outside sources ($13.79 billion)
  2. Falls on same level ($10.62 billion)
  3. Falls to a lower level ($5.50 billion)
  4. Struck by object or equipment ($4.43 billion)
  5. Other exertions or bodily reactions ($3.89 billion)
  6. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle ($3.70 billion)
  7. Slip or trip without fall ($2.30 billion)
  8. Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects ($1.95 billion)
  9. Struck against objects or equipment ($1.94 billion)
  10. Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks ($1.81 billion)

"The goal of the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index is to inform the national agenda on workplace safety by highlighting the direct costs of the most serious workplace accidents," Dr. Ian Noy, Director of Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, stated in an article with the Claims Journal. "Now in its 17th year, the study helps companies focus improvement efforts and resources on the most important areas."

As for managing risk in the workplace, knowledge is power. The above list of incidents can provide employers with a starting point for evaluating their own safety risks and allocate resources accordingly.

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