U.S. companies lose more than $1 billion a week due to workplace injuries, according to a new study by Liberty Mutual.
The global insurer's annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index included a list of the top ten causes of the most serious workplace injuries, ranking them by their direct cost to employers, in the form of medical and lost-wage payments. For the purposes of the study, "serious workplace injuries" are defined as those that cause an employee to miss five or more days from work.
According to its findings, the top 10 costliest causes of workplace injury and illness (along with their annual costs) are:
In all, the top 10 most common causes of serious injury cost American employers $46.93 billion a year, accounting for over 84% of the total $55.43 billion annual cost of the most disabling workplace injuries.
The 2019 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index is the first edition to also break down the causes and costs of serious workplace injuries by industry. The eight general industries analyzed by Liberty Mutual include manufacturing, healthcare, construction, professional services, retail, transportation and warehousing, wholesale and leisure and hospitality.
"The latest ranking helps employers, risk managers and safety professionals improve workplace safety by highlighting its financial impact in total and for specific industries," said James Merendino, general manager of risk control for Liberty Mutual national insurance. "To better protect employees and the bottom line, each employer needs to understand the root causes of the most serious workplace injuries they face. Only then can they effectively mitigate and manage these through work design, system controls, technology, training and strategic risk management. Insurance companies and brokers can be a key ally in these efforts."
According to the data, overexertion involving outside sources is the leading cause of serious injury for most industries, but falls to a lower level takes the top spot for construction, and falls to the same level are the costliest injuries in healthcare and professional services. Also noteworthy is the fact that intentional injury by person is the third-most common cause of serious workplace injuries in the field of healthcare, but is not a prominent cause of injury in any other major industry.
Employers can gain even more industry-specific insights by examining the full report and its breakdown of the top 5 most costly causes of serious injury for each individual industry.