The most disabling workplace injuries

Each year, Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Research Institute for Safety issues its Workplace Safety Index which identifies the top causes of serious, non-fatal workplace injuries based on information from Liberty Mutual workers compensation insurance claims, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Using injury-event definitions developed by the BLS, Liberty Mutual researchers examine injury data to determine which events caused an employee to miss six or more days of work and then ranked those events by total workers compensation costs.

Liberty Mutual is a diversified global insurer and one of the  largest property and casualty insurers in the U.S.

The 2013 Workplace Safety Index provides statistics for injuries that occurred in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available.


Top 5

1. Overexertion involving outside sources was ranked first as a leading cause of disabling injury.

This event category, which includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing, cost businesses $14.2 billion in direct costs and accounted for more than one quarter of the overall national burden.

2. Falls on same level ranked second. With direct costs of $8.6 billion, this category accounted for 15.4 percent of the total injury burden.

3. Struck by object or equipment ranked third at $5.6 billion in costs.

4. Falls to lower level ranked fourth at $4.9 billion.

5. Other exertions or bodily reactions ranked fifth at $4.2 billion and includes injuries resulting from bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, stepping, kneeling, sitting, standing or walking.

These top five injury causes accounted for 67.7 percent of the total 2011 cost burden.


Next top causes

The remaining five injury causes in the top 10 in 2011 each accounted for less than 5 percent of the direct cost of disabling injuries.

6. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle; 4.3 percent of the total injury burden at $2.4 billion.

7. Slip or trip without fall; 3.8 percent at $2.1 billion.

8. Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks; 3.5 percent at $2 billion.

9. Struck against object or equipment; 2.9 percent at $1.6 billion.

10. Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects; 2.8 percent at $1.6 billion.

Overall, these top 10 cause categories comprised 85 percent of the total cost burden of disabling work-related injuries reported in 2011.