When it comes to managing risk in the workplace, knowledge is power. Liberty Mutual’s 2022 Workplace Safety Index has been released, revealing last year’s top 10 causes of disabling workplace injuries. Our experts at CalWorkSafety & HR are here to tell you how to avoid them.
According to the Liberty Mutual 2022 Workplace Safety Index, serious, nonfatal workplace injuries resulted in nearly $60 billion in direct U.S. workers compensation costs. This translates into more than a billion dollars per week spent by businesses on these injuries. The top 10 causes of workplace injuries account for more than $50 billion, or about 85% of the total cost.
“Each year, we rank the top 10 causes of the most serious, nonfatal workplace injuries by their direct costs to help companies better protect employees and their bottom-line,” states Liberty Mutual who provides the annual Workplace Safety Index, which doesn’t change much from year to year.
“Workplace injuries impact both employees and employers. Injured employees face potential physical, emotional, and financial harm. Employers face the direct costs of workplace injuries – medical care related to the accident and some portion of an injured employee’s pay – and the indirect costs, including hiring temporary employees, lost productivity, and quality disruptions.”
The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index helps employers, risk managers, and safety practitioners make workplaces safer, by identifying critical risk areas so that businesses can better allocate safety resources.
TOP 10 DISABLING WORKPLACE INJURIES
(1) OVEREXERTION INVOLVING OUTSIDE SOURCES
Injuries from lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing objects accounts for 22% of the national burden when it comes to workplace injuries.
Take Action: Train employees on the proper way to perform the physical tasks required on the job. Utilize equipment, instead of manual labor, when available. Ensure employees are provided breaks and rest when needed to prevent overexertion.
(2) FALLS ON SAME LEVEL
Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common causes of workplace injuries indoors and outdoors. Employees are at risk for sprains, strains, lacerations, or worse – especially if they fall into surrounding debris that could cause further injury.
Take Action: Ensure non-slip mats and rugs are in use, make good housekeeping a priority in the workplace, repair or clearly mark uneven walking surfaces, and train employees on proper clean-up requirements.
(3) STRUCK BY OBJECT OR EQUIPMENT
When work is done at heights, large equipment is in use, or materials are stored vertically, there can be a great risk for employees to be struck by falling objects or moving equipment.
Take Action: All overhead materials should be stored in a secure manner. Caution signs should be used and proper PPE, like hard hats, should be in used when needed.
(4) FALLS TO LOWER LEVEL
Falls from heights can be from ladders, through floor holes or sky lights, from scaffolding, on stairways, from roofs, or from large equipment.
Take Action: Ensure all employees that work at heights have proper fall protection provided and they are trained on the use of the fall protection equipment, including PFAS, guardrails, or other engineered devices.
(5) OTHER EXERTIONS OR BODILY REACTIONS
These injuries are typically non-impact but occur when a body reacts or responds to something unexpected or has an injury due to a vigorous or strenuous effort. These injuries don’t fit into one of the other common categories.
Take Action: Workplace risk assessments can help evaluate common hazards that employees may be exposed to and assist management with prevention and training opportunities.
(6) ROADWAY INCIDENTS INVOLVING MOTORIZED LAND VEHICLE
Employees who drive for business purposes may have more opportunity to be injured in auto crashes and are also susceptible to distracted and drowsy driving.
Take Action: Define safe driving policies with an emphasis on distracted, drowsy, and defensive driving. Provide employees with safe-driver training.
(7) SLIP OR TRIP WITHOUT FALL
Reaction injuries occur when an employee slips or trips, but doesn’t fall down. The stress of the reaction to correct the body to upright can cause muscle strain, twisted ankles, or other trauma.
Take Action: Place non-slip rugs near entrances/exits. Make sure any uneven areas are labeled clearly (or repaired). Keep all work spaces tidy. Clear any potential slippery areas around the building.
(8) CAUGHT IN/COMPRESSED BY EQUIPMENT OR OBJECTS
Caught-in injuries are one of the top four serious incidents that occur in construction and machine entanglement caught-in injuries occur most often in factory settings.
Take Action: Provide protective barriers and train employees on how to recognize caught-in hazards.
(9) STRUCK AGAINST OBJECT OR EQUIPMENT
When employees unintentionally walk into equipment, walls, debris, or furniture in the workplace it is common to have head, knee, neck, and foot bruising, sprains and injuries.
Take Action: Ensure good housekeeping is a priority in the workplace. Clearly mark walkways and potential hazards
(10) NON-ROADWAY INCIDENTS INVOLVING MOTORIZED LAND VEHICLES
Defensive driving skills and awareness are still important when operating any vehicle in an off-road environment. This may include a field, factory, parking lot, job site, or work zone.
Take Action: Reinforce safe driving habits, including back over prevention, for all drivers and equipment operators through annual refresher training, monthly safety meetings, and weekly toolbox talks.
“The goal of the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index is to inform the national agenda on workplace safety by highlighting the direct costs of the most serious workplace accidents,” notes Dr. Ian Noy, former Director of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. “[This] study helps companies focus improvement efforts and resources on the most important areas.”
To learn more about how Liberty Mutual collects data to compile this very important list, visit their website at libertymutualgroup.com.
Need a fresh idea for a safety meeting topic? This top 10 list is a great place to start.
- Review the entire list if you have more time. Encourage discussion about the potential hazards found in your own workplace that might fall into each category.
- Short on time? Pick any one from the top 10 list that applies to your current work environment and focus on ways management and employees can prevent injuries and keep workers safe.