The top 10 causes of workplace injuries – such as slips, trips and falls and strains from lifting heavy objects – cost U.S. businesses more than $1 billion per week, according to a new report from Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Disabling workplace injuries cost employers $59 billion per year. And the top 10 causes make up 89% or $52.93 billion of the total cost burden, the report states.
Obviously, getting these top causes under control could keep employees from getting hurt while saving the company a great deal of money.
The annual report is based on information collected by Liberty Mutual, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Academy of Social Insurance on the top causes of the most serious workplace injuries. That’s those that cause employees to miss work for more than five days.
Rankings come from their direct cost to employers based on medical and lost-wage expenses.
To capture accurate injury cost data, the index is based on data from three years prior, so the 2020 index reflects 2017 data.
Where the workplace injuries are
The 2020 Workplace Safety Index names these causes as the top five:
- Overexertion involving outside sources, costing $13.98 billion per year and accounting for 23.5% of the overall national burden.
- Falls on the same level, costing $10.84 billion per year and 18.2% of the burden.
- Being struck by an object or equipment, costing $6.12 billion per year and 10.3% of the burden.
- Falls to a lower level, costing $5.71 billion per year and 9.6% of the burden.
- Awkward postures – including bending, reaching, twisting, climbing, crawling, kneeling, sitting, standing, walking and running – costing $4.69 billion per year and 7.9% of the burden.
These injury causes account for 69.5% of the total cost burden employers bear, while the remaining five causes, listed below, make up 19.5% of the total cost burden:
- Vehicle crashes, costing $3.56 billion per year.
- Slips or trips without a fall, costing $2.06 billion per year.
- Repetitive motions involving microtasks, costing $2.05 billion per year.
- Colliding with objects, costing $2 billion per year.
- Running equipment or machinery, costing $1.92 billion per year.
Newest safety challenge: Work from home
Work from home presents a whole new series of challenges to “workplace” safety. After all, your company has little (to no) control over their work environments.
The good news? According to the Department of Labor, OSHA won’t conduct inspections of home offices and therefore won’t hold employers liable for employees’ home offices.
You don’t have to inspect home offices either. If OSHA receives any complaints from teleworking employees, they may informally let you know, but they won’t follow up.
Just make sure you’re keeping a record of any reported work-related injuries and illnesses, as usual.