Worker health and wellness Bureau of Labor Statistics

Overexertion tops causes of disabling work injuries: report


Photo: Ian Palmer

Hopkinton, MA – “Overexertion involving outside sources” remains the leading cause of disabling injuries in the United States, according to the annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, which ranks serious, nonfatal workplace injuries.

The category includes lifting, pushing, pulling and other actions involving objects, and cost U.S. businesses $15.08 billion in 2013, or almost 25 percent of total costs, the report states.

Overexertion also was the No. 1 cause listed in last year’s report.

Disabling work injuries amounted to $61.88 billion in workers’ compensation costs, and the top 10 causes totaled $51.06 billion (82.5 percent).

The other top injury causes and their related costs:

  • Falls on same level ($10.17 billion)
  • Falls to lower level ($5.4 billion)
  • Struck by equipment or object ($5.31 billion)
  • Other exertions or bodily reactions ($4.15 billion)
  • Motor vehicle incidents ($2.96 billion)
  • Slips or trips without falling ($2.35 billion)
  • Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects ($1.97 billion)
  • Struck against equipment or object ($1.85 billion)
  • Repetitive motions from “micro-tasks” ($1.82 billion)

Published by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, the index is intended to help employers and other safety professionals pinpoint risks and make their worksites safer. Data was collected from Liberty Mutual, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance. Researchers examined BLS injury data based on which incidents resulted in employees missing at least six days of work.

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