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U.S. businesses spend upwards of $60 billion a year in workers compensation costs related to serious, nonfatal work injuries, with overexertion and falls named among the leading causes of those accidents, according to a report released Tuesday by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.
The 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index uses Liberty Mutual workers comp claims data, as well as information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Washington-based National Academy of Social Insurance, to determine the costliest workplace injuries and those that result in employees missing six or more days of work.
“Overexertion involving outside sources” was listed by Liberty Mutual as the top cause of serious, nonfatal injuries, representing 23% of serious injuries and costing U.S. businesses $13.8 billion in 2014. This injury category includes accidents related to “lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing objects,” the report states.
“Falls on the same level” represented the second costliest category of serious nonfatal injuries, costing employers $10.6 billion in 2014 and accounting for 17.7% of accidents, according to Liberty Mutual. “Falls to lower level” cost U.S. employers $5.5 billion in 2014 and represented 9.2% of serious, nonfatal injuries.
Liberty Mutual’s list of the top 10 costliest injury causes included “struck by object or equipment,” “roadway incidents” and “caught in/compressed by equipment.” The top 10 injury categories represented 83% of total injury costs to U.S. businesses in 2014, or $49.9 billion, according to the report.
More than 470,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private sector and public sector employers in California in 2015, and the state’s incident rate has remained at its lowest point in more than a decade, according to a report from the California Department of Industrial Relations.