Study reveals most disabling workplace injuries

A recent study indicates that the top five causes of the most disabling injuries across the country cost nearly $62 billion in workers’ compensation.

In 2014, for every 100 workers across all industries in Pennsylvania, there were 2.6 nonfatal injuries or illnesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of every 100 workers suffered an injury on the job that led to time away from work. This can be costly for both the employee and the business.

In many cases, workplace injuries can be prevented. Knowing the most common types of these incidents can help keep workers safe and keep costs low for employers. A recent study from Liberty Mutual has identified the causes of the most disabling injuries across the country.

The study

In the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, researchers pulled data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Academy of Social Insurance and Liberty Mutual. They took the total cost of workers' compensation benefits into account when looking at the events that resulted in a worker missing six or more days of work.

The findings indicate that overexertion is actually the top cause of the most disabling injuries across the country. In other words, pushing, lifting, pulling, holding or throwing objects cost U.S. businesses more money in injuries than any other cause.

Other leading, costly injuries include the following:

  • Falls on the same level
  • Falls to a lower level
  • Struck-by events
  • Other exertions

According to the report, 64.8 percent of the total cost companies incur due to an injury is accounted for by these top five causes. In total, the most disabling injuries cost nearly $62 billion.

Preventing workplace accidents

Keeping workers safe begins with having a workplace injury prevention program in place. Some of this is simply common sense, such as identifying hazards and correcting or controlling them immediately. Both management and employees should know how to identify a potentially dangerous situation, ranging from cords strewn across hallways to construction workers digging into an area where there could be buried power lines.

Every employee should go through a training program that equips him or her for the job. Additionally, workers should know how to dress appropriately, including any safety gear that should be worn.

Lastly, companies must provide workers with the appropriate equipment as well as how to use it. People who work in construction, for example, should know how to use fall arrest equipment.

Under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, nearly every employee in the state is covered, even part-time or seasonal workers. In other words, someone injured while on the job will likely be entitled to benefits to cover the cost of medical bills and other losses. Anyone who has a question about this issue should speak with a workers' compensation attorney in Pennsylvania.