The top 10 most serious non-fatal workplace injuries that caused employees to miss six or more days of work account for direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs of more than $51 billion, according to data derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Academy of Social Insurance.

workplace injuriesThe total cost for all serious non-fatal injuries amounted to nearly $62 billion, as identified in a recent study published by the safety institute of a leading national insurer. The statistics for workplace injuries are based on 2013 data, which is the most recent data available.

Safety managers at U.S. employers, working closely with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier, watch this industry data closely to identify risk management techniques that might minimize injury while protecting employees and their employers.

Workplace injuries that comprise the top 10 causes of workers’ compensation claims are listed below, in order of priority.

  1. Overexertion involving an outside source. Workplace injuries in this category include accidents caused by lifting, pulling, pushing, holding, carrying, wielding, or throwing objects involved in the work process. Overexertion causes almost a quarter (24.4 percent) of the top 10 workplace injuries and results in $15 billion of workers’ compensation costs, according to the study.
  1. Falls on the same level. A fall caused an uneven floor surface or an object on the floor constitute the second highest ranking category of workplace injury, accounting for 16.4 percent of the top 10 workplace injuries and $10.17 billion in workers’ compensation costs.
  1. Falls to a lower level. A common example would include a worker falling from a ladder or a stool in this third highest ranking category of injury.
  1. Struck by object or equipment. Falling boxes, swinging doors, or equipment dropped on a worker from a higher level can all result in non-fatal injuries.
  1. Other exertions or bodily reactions. Many workplace injuries are caused by bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing or stepping.
  1. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle. Commercial auto accidents involving a mobile service technician or a truck driver injured in an accident represent the sixth largest cause of workplace injuries.
  1. Slip or trip without fall. Injuries can occur when an office worker trips over an open file cabinet but grabs a nearby desk to catch their balance, or when they slip on oil that dripped onto a shop floor.
  1. Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects. Industrial, construction and other workers can sustain injuries to hands, arms, legs, feet or other body parts when they become trapped by equipment or shifting inventory.
  1. Struck against object or equipment. Bumping into an office desk or kicking a stack of parts left on a shop floor are two additional examples of how workers can be injured by workplace equipment.
  1. Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks. Data entry clerks, production line workers, or grocery checkout clerks can all suffer from repetitive motions.

Beyond the direct costs associated with workers’ compensation claims, U.S. employers may also face additional expenses associated with hiring interim replacement workers, potential quality disruptions, and potential reputational harm.


Material for this article was taken from a collection of industry and governmental reports relating to the subject.

In all of the general statements here, see the state law of the controlling jurisdiction. Every case is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.

This blog is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.