Workers’ comp costs at 12-year low: report

January 18, 2012

Hopkinton, MA – The overall workers’ compensation cost of all injuries and illnesses has fallen to a 12-year low, but costs associated with certain causes of injuries have risen sharply in the same period, according to a new report (.pdf file) from the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety.

The report notes that the inflation-adjusted direct cost of most disabling injuries was $35.4 billion in 2009 – more than a 6 percent drop from the previous year and the lowest amount since $37.1 billion in 1998.

However, the costs for the No. 2 and 3 top causes of disabling injuries in 2009 – falls on the same level and falls to a lower level – have increased 34.2 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively, over the past 12 years. Overexertion, the No. 1 cause of disabling injuries – costing $12.8 billion in 2009 – has seen its direct costs decrease 9.9 percent since 1998.

The report was based on information from Liberty Mutual insurance claims, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance. It includes data on the workers’ comp costs of injury and illness causes that led an employee to miss six or more days of work.