Top 10 Causes For Workplace Injuries, According To Liberty Mutual

We expect to be safe when we go to work on any given day, but for some individuals, that is an expectation taken for granted. Each year, Liberty Mutual takes a look at the primary causes of on-the-job accidents, and 2014 was no exception. The reports typically run a few years behind as they’re based on 2012 claims data. On Jan. 14, the insurer released its latest top 10 for this time period. Among the key findings? Workplace damages totaled around $50 billion, $25 billion of which was related to the top two causes — overexertion and falls.

Claims Journal explains, noting that the leading cause of injury on the list was overexertion ($15.1 billion), and it was typically related “to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing.”

“Other exertions, which came in at number five, includes injuries due to bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing, stepping, kneeling, sitting, standing or walking,” the site added.

Statistics compiled by the City of Denver show there were over 311 overexertion claims reported by employees. Injuries most often occurred as a result of holding, carrying or lifting.

As for falls, the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and United Heartland reported that close to 33 percent of all Midwestern workers’ compensation claims from lost time were due to slips and falls on ice and snow. The winter-related slip-and-fall claims doubled from 2013 to 2014 with the to five states being:

  1. Indiana – 37 percent
  2. Wisconsin – 33 percent
  3. Michigan – 32 percent
  4. Illinois – 32 percent
  5. Minnesota – 29 percent

Not to be discounted on impact, road incidents involving motorized land vehicles were an additional area of concern accounting for $3.18 billion of the damages. On road deaths, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “there were 105 worker deaths at road construction sites in 2013” and that “Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and California were the top ranking states for roadway worker deaths” with the “top cause (69 percent) being pedestrian workers killed by motor vehicles.”

CJ adds that “63 percent of occupational fatalities in work zones were to the following occupations: construction laborers, highway maintenance workers, heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers, first-line supervisors of construction an extraction workers and construction equipment operators.”

Private sector construction, which consists primarily of heavy/civil engineering construction and specialty trades contractors, claimed 60 percent of worker fatalities in work zones.

Private sector service producing industries (I.e. transportation and warehousing industry and the administrative and support services industry) made up an extra 27 percent of worker deaths from within work zones. One in 10 workers fatally injured in work zones “were in the government sector,” the report claims.

Overall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), notes that deaths involving workers in the U.S. have decreased. Since 1970, the number of worker deaths per day has fallen from 38 to 12 (as of 2012). “OSHA reports workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled,” CJ states.


Leading Causes and Direct Costs of Workplace Injuries in 2012:

  1. Overexertion $15.1B 25.3%
  2. Falls on same level $9.19B 15.4%
  3. Struck by object or equipment $5.3B 8.9%
  4. Falls to lower level $5.12B 8.6%
  5. Other exertions or bodily reactions $4.27B 7.2%
  6. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle $3.18B 5.3%
  7. Slip or trip without fall $2.17B 3.6%
  8. Caught in/compressed by equipment or objects $2.1B 3.5%
  9. Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks $1.84B 3.1%
  10. Struck against object or equipment $1.76B 2.9%


In Summary

While it’s clear from the Liberty Mutual and Claims Journal report that American worker deaths are on their way down and that safety awareness is stronger than ever, it’s also important to note that each day at least a dozen people are dying on the job. While some companies offer life insurance as a part of the benefits package, it is typically limited in what it will pay out and further necessitates a private policy. If you have customers who have not purchased life insurance or don’t have enough to carry their bills and/or replace their incomes, consider addressing the issue with them soon. Even if they’re too old or have too many health issues to get an affordable whole life policy, a term life can still provide adequate protection for the remainder of their employment years.

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