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New workers account for 35% of injuries, analysis of comp claims shows

Photo: PeopleImages/iStockphoto

Hartford, CT — More than a third of work-related injuries occur during people’s first year on the job, according to a report from insurance provider The Travelers Cos.

For its 2022 Injury Impact Report, Travelers examined more than 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims filed between 2015 and 2019 from various businesses and industries. Findings show that 35% of injuries happened to workers who were hired within the past year, regardless of age or industry experience. Further, first-year injuries resulted in more than 6 million missed workdays, representing 37% of all missed workdays caused by injury.

Overexertion (27%) was the most common cause of first-year worker injuries, followed by slips, trips and falls (22%) and struck-by incidents (14%). Sprains and strains (38%) were the most common injuries, outpacing fractures (13%) – the next most frequent injury – almost threefold.

By industry, the percentage of claims made by first-year workers was highest in restaurants (53%) and construction (48%). Those claims accounted for 47% and 52% of total claims costs in those industries, respectively. Services (43% of claims and 38% of claim costs) and transportation (39% of claims and 41% of claim costs) had slightly lower percentages.

Construction (98), transportation (88) and services (59) had the highest average of missed workdays.

Other key findings:

  • Amputations, multiple traumas, electric shock and dislocations resulted in the most expensive claims involving first-year workers.
  • Among all employees and industries, overexertion (29%); slips, trips and falls (23%); and struck by an object (14%) were the most common causes of injury.
  • Overall, the most expensive injuries were dislocations, head trauma and fractures.
  • The most commonly affected body parts among all claimants were lower back (13%), shoulders (12%) and knees (10%).

“Our data underscores the importance of comprehensive onboarding and training programs for employees, particularly as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and see many workers starting new jobs,” Chris Hayes, assistant vice president of risk control – workers compensation and transportation at Travelers, said in a press release. “While new employees are among the most vulnerable, many injuries sustained by employees of any tenure can often be prevented if the proper safety measures are in place.”

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