Serious work-related injuries and illnesses cost U.S. employers more than $1 billion a week: report

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Boston — U.S. employers spent more than $1 billion a week on the most disabling injuries and illnesses in 2015, according to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, an annual ranking of serious, nonfatal workplace injuries based on direct workers’ compensation costs.

Although the safety index’s top 10 most serious injuries and illnesses total decreased 1.5 percent from 2014, medical and lost-wage costs increased 2.9 percent. Overall, the cost of disabling injuries and illnesses reached nearly $60 billion, with the top 10 injuries and illnesses accounting for nearly $52 billion.

Overexertion involving outside sources was the leading cause of disabling injuries for the fourth consecutive year, costing employers $13.7 billion. Other injury causes – in identical order as last year – and their related costs were:

  • Falls on same level ($11.2 billion)
  • Falls to lower level ($5.9 billion)
  • Struck by object or equipment ($5.3 billion)
  • Other exertions or bodily reactions ($4.2 billion)
  • Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle ($3.2 billion)
  • Slip or trip without a fall ($2.3 billion)
  • Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects ($2.1 billion)
  • Struck against equipment or object ($2 billion)
  • Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks ($1.5 billion)

“To effectively improve safety, each employer needs to understand the root causes of the most serious workplace injuries they experience, and the ways to effectively mitigate these through training, equipment and work design,” James Merendino, general manager of risk control at Liberty Mutual, said in a May 8 press release.

Researchers used data from Liberty Mutual, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance to compile the safety index.

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