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Costliest workplace injuries had price tag of almost $59 billion in 2018: annual index

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Photo: Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index

Boston — U.S. employers spent more than $1 billion a week on the most disabling injuries in 2018, according to the 2021 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index – an annual ranking of serious, nonfatal workplace injuries.

Liberty Mutual based its findings on direct workers’ compensation costs involving more than five days away from work. The annual total cost for employers was $58.6 billion, including medical expenditures and lost wage payments.

Overexertion caused by handling objects, which ranked No. 1 in 2017, remained the costliest injury type at a total of $13.3 billion. It was followed by falls to the same level ($10.6 billion), falls to a lower level ($6.3 billion), struck-by injuries ($5.6 billion) and awkward postures ($4.7 billion). Combined, the cost of the top five injury types made up nearly 70% of the price tag for the top 10.

Rounding out the top 10 were vehicle crashes ($3.2 billion), slip or trip without a fall ($2.5 billion), colliding with equipment or objects ($2.5 billion), caught in machinery or equipment ($2 billion), and repetitive motion ($1.7 billion).

 

“Understanding the top risks in the workplace is the first step in better protecting employees and the bottom line,” Jamie Merendino, general manager of risk control services at Liberty Mutual, said in a July 21 press release. “The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index gives companies a critical starting point, letting them partner with insurers, brokers and agents to understand what causes their most serious injuries and what can be done to improve workplace safety.”

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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