The High Cost of Serious, Nonfatal Workplace Injuries

Each year, the Research Institute produces the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, which ranks the leading causes of serious, nonfatal work-related injuries in terms of direct workers compensation costs. The Index is based on information from Liberty Mutual Insurance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

According to the index, serious, nonfatal workplace injuries now amount to nearly $60 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs per year. This translates into more than $1 billion dollars a week spent by businesses on these injuries.

The top 10 causes of injury include falls, struck by, and over-exertions. These top injury causes accounted for 63.8 percent of the total cost burden for U.S. businesses.

The remaining five injury causes combined accounted for 19.5 percent of the total direct cost of disabling injuries. These include: roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle (#6, $3.7 billion); slip or trip without fall (#7, $2.3 billion); caught in/compressed by equipment or objects (#8, $1.95 billion); struck against objects or equipment (#9, $1.94 billion); and repetitive motions involving micro-tasks (#10, $1.81 billion).

Direct costs of all disabling work-related injuries equaled $59.87 billion, with the top 10 causes comprising 83.4 percent – or $49.92 billion – of the total cost burden to employers.