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Not all workplace injuries created equal

Not all workplace injuries created equal

Inflammation causes employees to be away from work longer than other common workplace injuries, according to a new report by Travelers Cos. Inc.

While strains and sprains are the most common workplace injury, making up 30% of total claims, they lead injured employees to miss an average of 57 work days per injury compared with inflammation, such as tendinitis, which causes an average of 91 days away from work, according to Traveler's Injury Impact Report, released Monday, which analyzes more than 1.5 million workers compensation claims filed between 2010 and 2014.

Rounding out the top five workplace injuries are cuts or punctures (19%), contusions (12%), fractures (5%) and inflammation (5%), with other injuries accounting for 29% of total claims, the report shows.

The report notes that fractures lead to 78 days away from work, concussions lead to 27 days and cuts or punctures lead to 24 days.

Fractures, however, are more expensive than the other most common injuries, costing an average of $42,400 per claim, Travelers said in the report. Inflammation is the second-most expensive, with the average claim costing $24,500.

Meanwhile, amputation has the highest average cost per claim at $102,500, according to the report.

At 32%, material handling — including lifting, lowering, filling, emptying or carrying an item — is the most common cause of workplace accidents across all claims, and for all businesses and industries analyzed, the report found. Manufacturing and retail sectors suffered the most injuries from material handling, followed by the oil and gas industry and large businesses.

“Even seemingly minor injuries, such as strains or sprains, can substantially impact an employee and slow a business's operations and productivity,” Woody Dwyer, Hartford, Connecticut-based second vice president of workers comp and risk control for Travelers, said Monday in a statement. “The most common injuries we see can often be prevented if the proper safety measures are in place, if safety issues are promptly addressed and if leaders continuously emphasize a culture of safety with employees.”