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On-the-job injuries: Report identifies two vulnerable worker groups


Photo: The Travelers Cos

Hartford, CT — Employers need to pay close attention to new and aging employees to help prevent workplace injuries, according to a report from insurance provider The Travelers Cos.

For its 2023 Injury Impact Report, Travelers examined more than 1.2 million workers’ compensation claims filed between 2016 and 2020 from various businesses and industries. Findings show that employees in their first year on the job accounted for 34% of the claims and almost 7 million missed workdays because of injuries. 

Meanwhile, the frequency of injury among workers 60 and older was less than that of many other age groups, but they had higher average costs per claim. For instance, the average costs of their claims were 140% higher than those of employees 18 to 24 and 15% higher than those of 35- to 49-year-olds.

“The data clearly highlights two populations to watch when it comes to workplace injuries: new and aging employees,” Rich Ives, vice president of business insurance claim at Travelers, said in a May 1 press release. “As employers navigate turnover and a multigenerational workforce, it’s important that they stay aware of the risks that come with changing worker demographics so they can help keep employees safe and businesses running.”

Other key findings:

  • Strains and sprains were the most common injury, comprising 38% of the claims, followed by fractures (13%), contusions (8%), inflammation (7%) and dislocations (7%).
  • The leading causes of injury: overexertion (29%); slips, trips and falls (23%); being struck by an object (13%); motor vehicle-related incidents (5%); and caught-in or caught-between hazards (5%).
  • On average, the claimants missed 71 workdays. Employees in the construction industry had the highest average number of lost workdays, at 99 days, while claimants in the transportation industry (77) had the second-highest average.
  • Slips, trips and falls resulted in an average of 83 missed workdays, followed by motor vehicle crashes (79), overexertion (71) and struck-by incidents (67).

“After an injury, an employee’s road back to work can be difficult,” Ives said, “and the longer they remain out, the harder it can be for them to return – especially if they’re dealing with a psychosocial barrier such as fear or worry. That’s why a holistic approach to recovery is so critical and why we recommend employers promptly file claims after an incident – so that injured workers can immediately receive the help they need.”

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