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Experts offer tips on how to prevent some of the most common -- and most costly -- work injuries

The most recent version of the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, released last month, made some truly shocking revelations concerning the costs of work injuries to U.S. employers in 2010.

For those unfamiliar with the index, it identifies those work injuries which were the most costly to U.S. employers in terms of total work comp costs. This computation, in turn, is made through careful analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and Liberty Mutual's own claims department.

The index revealed that the following five work injuries were responsible for 73.1 percent of the total cost burden in 2010:

  • Overexertion injuries (i.e., injuries caused by carrying, holding, lifting, pulling, pushing or throwing) - $13.61 billion in work comp costs and 26.8 percent of the total cost burden
  • Falls on the same level - $8.61 billion in work comp costs and 16.9 percent of the total cost burden
  • Bodily reaction injuries (i.e., those caused by bending, climbing, sitting, standing, tripping/slipping without falling) - $5.78 billion in work comp costs and 11.4 percent of the total cost burden
  • Falls to lower levels - $5.12 billion in work comp costs and 10 percent of the total cost burden
  • Strikes by objects - $4.10 billion in work comp costs and 8 percent of the total cost burden

Interestingly, safety experts have offered employers a few basic tips to help prevent these five serious work injuries. Here, the goal is not only to save time and money, but also to keep employees safe.

  • Overexertion injuries - Urge employees to ask for help whenever carrying, lifting, pulling, holding or pushing heavy objects or to use a mechanical device for assistance; If neither of these are viable options, experts advise providing employees with proper ergonomic training
  • Falls on the same levels - Take steps to ensure that all work areas remain clear of debris and that the floors remain clean. Anti-slip footwear and/or installation of anti-slip mats/coating is also encouraged
  • Bodily reaction injuries - Identify and eliminate any and all environmental factors that can contribute to these debilitating injuries; This includes taking steps to eliminate positions that require excessive exertion, repetitive motion or uncomfortable body posture
  • Falls to lower levels - Regularly inspect ladders and scaffolding to determine that it is in the appropriate working order and install fall protection measures wherever necessary
  • Strikes by objects - Equip employees with the necessary safety equipment, including hardhats, face shields, and safety goggles; Ensure that all materials are stored properly and aren't susceptible to sliding, falling or collapsing

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


EHS Today, "Preventing the top 5 workplace injuries," Langdon Dement, March 14, 2013

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