Liberty Mutual: Worst Workplace Injuries Cost U.S. Firms $59B Per Year

February 6, 2017

Workplace injuries and accidents that cause employees to miss six or more days of work cost U.S. employers $59.9 billion in 2014, the most recent year for which statistically valid injury data are available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance, according to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Insurance Workplace Safety Index.

The 10 leading causes of the most disabling work-related injuries account for $49.9 billion, or 83.4 percent of the total cost of $59.9 billion. The top three causes – which collectively represent almost half of the cost of the leading accidents – are overexertion ($13.8 billion, 23 percent), falls on same level ($10.6 billion, 17.7 percent) and falls to lower level ($5.5 billion, 9.2 percent).

The latest Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index can be seen at https://lmi.co/wsi.

“Each year, we rank the top 10 causes of the most serious, nonfatal workplace injuries by their direct costs to help companies better protect employees and the bottom-line,” notes Debbie Michel, who leads the area of Liberty Mutual that provides workers compensation and other insurance coverages to mid-sized and large companies through brokers and agents.

“Workplace injuries impact both employees and employers. Injured employees face potential physical, emotional and financial harm. Employers face the direct costs of workplace injuries – medical care related to the accident and some portion of an injured employee’s pay – and the indirect costs, including hiring temporary employees, lost productivity, and quality disruptions.”

While the ranking of the top causes of the most serious workplace accidents remained the same in the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index as in the 2016 report, the latest index shows:

The total cost of all disabling workplace injuries fell to $59.9 billion in 2017, from $61.9 billion in 2016
The share of the top 10 causes of serious workplace accidents in the cost of all disabling workplace accidents grew in 2017 to 83.4 percent, from 82.5 percent in 2016
Falls on same level and roadway incidents continued to trend upward, and overexertion decreased substantially

“The goal of the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index is to inform the national agenda on workplace safety by highlighting the direct costs of the most serious workplace accidents,” notes Dr. Ian Noy, Director, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. “Now in its 17th year, the study helps companies focus improvement efforts and resources on the most important areas.”

The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index is compiled based on information from Liberty Mutual, the BLS and the National Academy of Social Insurance. Liberty Mutual researchers examine BLS injury data to determine which events caused employees to miss six or more days of work and then rank those events by total workers compensation costs.

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