Top Causes of Severe Work Injuries

construction worker falling off a ladder

A recent study listed the top 10 causes of disabling workplace injuries. The top two were overexertion resulting from external sources and falls on the same floor level. The study comes from the annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, which defined serious workplace injuries as those forcing employees to miss five or more days of work.

Listing the Top 10 Serious Work Injury Causes by Cost

In the study, Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index ranked each cause of work injuries by their costs to employers, and the list has remained somewhat similar over the years, with minimal changes. 

The goal of the list is to help employers determine how to better protect both employees and their businesses by mitigating certain safety risks in the workplace.

The study found that the number-one leading cause of serious work injuries was overexertion involving outside sources. This could include any injuries resulting from pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying, or holding certain items. The total cost to employers from these types of injuries is $13.1 billion. 

The second leading cause is falling on the same floor level, such as slip and falls involving wet floors. The cost to employers for these injuries is $10.4 billion.

The third leading cause was getting struck by equipment or objects, such as objects that fall on workers. These accidents cost employers $5.2 billion. From there, all other causes fell between $1.2 billion to $4.9 billion. These causes include, in descending order:

  • Falls to lower levels from a platform or ladder
  • Other types of exertion or bodily reactions resulting from activities such as reaching, kneeling, crawling, climbing, and bending
  • Roadway incidents involving motor vehicles
  • Slips or trips without falls, which could include tripping over objects without falling
  • Becoming caught in or compressed by objects or equipment, including incidents involving getting caught in gears or rollers.
  • Any type of repetitive motion that involves microtasks such as assembly line work.

Finally, the tenth leading cause of serious workplace injuries was getting struck against equipment or objects, which could entail walking into doors or heavy machinery.

Creating a Safer Workplace for Employees

To prevent these types of accidents from taking place in any workspace, employers need to recognize hazards and manage the risks in workplaces. Implementing a safety program and ensuring employees are aware of the hazards at their jobs can help maintain a safer place to work.