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Workplace Safety Index reveals most common and costly injuries

| Jul 16, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

Liberty Mutual’s annual workplace safety index looks at on-the-job injuries from the employer’s perspective by drilling down into the data to figure out how often injuries occur and which injuries are the costliest for employers.

While some of our Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Law Blog readers are people who have been injured on the job (and family members of those workers), it’s useful to dive into the data that business owners, operators and supervisors examine.

Most expensive work injuries

According to Liberty Mutual, the costliest injuries that required employees to miss more than five days of work are the following:

  • Overexertion: the most common workplace injury, overexertion accounts for nearly 25 percent of all on-the-job injuries. It costs employers $13.98 billion, according to the index.
  • Fall on the same level: 18 percent of all workplace injuries. These cost employers $10.84 billion.
  • Struck by: injuries sustained when workers are struck by objects or equipment account for 10 percent of all work-related injuries and cost $6.12 billion.
  • Falls to lower level: $7.71 billion.
  • Other exertions or body reactions: $4.69 billion
  • Roadway incidents with vehicles: $3.56 billion
  • Slip or trip without a fall: $2.06 billion
  • Repetitive motions involving microtasks: $2.05 billion
  • Collisions with objects or equipment: $2 billion
  • Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects: $1.92 billion

The insurer notes that though the number of serious on-the-job injuries have declined over the past two decades, medical costs have increased above the rate of inflation.

Common injuries by industry

According to the 2020 index, overexertion from outside sources was the most common workplace injury in several industries: health care (30.1 percent), manufacturing (20.3 percent), professional services (18.4 percent), retail (28.5 percent), transportation and warehousing (22.7 percent) and wholesale (28.2 percent.)

Most injured employees are eligible for Wisconsin workers’ compensation benefits that include medical care and partial wage replacement.

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