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2021 Workplace Safety Index: the top 10 causes of disabling injuries - Helmsman

2021 Workplace Safety Index: the top 10 causes of disabling injuries

From back injuries to broken bones, the top 10 causes of workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than $1 billion a week.

Workplace injuries are not limited to high-risk industries such as manufacturing and construction. Disabling injuries can occur on any job, making workplace safety a top concern for employers.

The 2021 Workplace Safety Index (WSI) compiles the 10 causes of the most serious disabling workplace injuries – those that caused employees to miss work for more than five days – and ranks them by direct cost to employers based on medical and lost-wage expenses.

The top 10 causes of
disabling workplace injuries
Disabling workplace injuries cost businesses more than $58 billion every year.
The first step in protecting your business and workforce is knowing how serious injuries happen.
clipboard check list
1. Handling objects | Cost per year $13.30B | Watch for: heavy boxes
1. Handling objects1
Cost per year: $13.30B
Watch for: heavy boxes
2. Falls on same level | Cost per year $10.5B | Watch for: wet floors
2. Falls on the same level
Cost per year: $10.58B
Watch for: wet floors
3. Falls to lower level | Cost per year $6.26B | Watch for: wobbly ladders
3. Falls to lower level
Cost per year: $6.26B
Watch for: wobbly ladders
4. Being hit by objects | Cost per year $5.61B | Watch for: falling objects
4. Being hit by objects2
Cost per year: $5.61B
Watch for: falling objects
5. Awkward postures | Cost per year $4.71B | Watch for: stepping down from a vehicle
5. Awkward postures3
Cost per year: $4.71B
Watch for: stepping down from a vehicle
6. Vehicles crashes | Cost per year $3.16B | Watch for: distracted drivers
6. Vehicle crashes4
Cost per year: $3.16B
Watch for: distracted drivers
7. Slip or trip without fall | Cost per year $2.52B | Watch for: slippery or uneven walkways
7. Slip or trip without fall
Cost per year: $2.52B
Watch for: slippery or uneven walkways
8. Colliding with objects or equipment | Cost per year $2.46B | Watch for: fixed objects in the work or workspace
8. Colliding with
objects or equipment5

Cost per year: $2.46B
Watch for: fixed objects in the work or workspace
9. Colliding with objects | Cost per year $2.0B | Watch for: That concrete pillar
9. Caught in equipment
or machines6

Cost per year: $2.01B
Watch for: moving/rotating machinery parts
10. Repetitive motions involving microtasks  | Cost per year $1.66B | Watch for: hand- and shoulder-intensive work
10. Repetitive motions
involving microtasks

Cost per year: $1.66B
Watch for: hand- and shoulder-intensive work

Make sure to work with a trusted TPA to examine workplace injuries in your own business, and how you can effectively reduce those risks. Because a safer workplace isn’t just good for employees; it’s good for the bottom line.

Study Methodology:
The annual Workplace Safety Index is based on information from Liberty Mutual Insurance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). BLS non-fatal injury data are analyzed with the Liberty Mutual data to determine which events caused employees to miss more than five days of work, and then to rank those events by workers compensation costs, which are then scaled to the NASI total cost.

To capture accurate injury cost data, each index is based on data three years prior. Accordingly, the 2021 index reflects 2018 data.

1. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for “Overexertion involving outside sources” See BLS definitions manual for further detail.
2. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for “Struck by object or equipment” See BLS definitions manual for further detail.
3. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for “Other exertions or bodily reactions” See BLS definitions manual for further detail.
4. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for “Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle” See BLS definitions manual for further detail.
5. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for “Struck against object or equipment” See BLS definitions manual for further detail.
6. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for “Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects” See BLS definitions manual for further detail.