Many Americans are aware that workplace accidents cost employers millions of dollars every year. But what might be surprising is that in 2015, the cost of those accidents cost employers throughout the country over $1 billion a week.
This number was released in Liberty Mutual’s Workplace Safety Index in May 2018. The index is a ranking of workplace injuries that are serious but non-fatal. The rankings are accumulated based on data from Liberty Mutual, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.
The good news for workers is that the cost of the most serious injuries decreased by 1.5 percent in 2015 from the year before. However, the cost of medical and low-wage costs increased by 2.9 percent.
This number shows that perhaps while serious injuries were less of an issue, more workers sustained less serious injuries and illnesses that kept them from being able to work in 2015.
Overexertion remained as the leading cause of workplace injuries for the fourth year in a row, with a total cost of $13.7 billion. Following overexertion the most common workplace injuries were falls on the same level, falls to a lower level, being struck by an object or equipment, and other types of exertions of bodily reactions.
These causes of workplace accidents collectively cost employers $26.6 billion for the year.
Roadway incidents with motorized land vehicles, slips or trips that did not result in a fall, being caught in equipment, being struck against equipment, and repetitive motions followed as the lowest-costing workplace injuries.
These top ten injuries were ranked in an identical order from the year before. These less common injuries cost $11.1 billion in worker’s compensation costs.
“The increased cost of workplace accidents shows the importance of both employers and employees understanding the main causes of workplace accidents,” says Matthew Tomkiel of Tomkiel & Tomkiel. “With this knowledge, everyone in the workplace can take measures to prevent more accidents from happening.”
Employers may be the most effective in reducing the costs of workplace accidents through better training, ensuring their equipment is up to date, and designing better, safer work spaces.