Lost-time workplace injuries, those in which employees miss 6 or more days of work, cost American businesses big. Did your workers comp management shortcomings contribute to the terrifying total of nearly $62 billion in 2013?
Accounting for 82.5%, or more than $51 billion of payouts, the 10 leading causes of the over $1-billion-per-week spent on disabling, non-fatal injuries include:
- Overexertion – nearly 25% ($15.08 billion)
- Falls on same level – 16.4% ($10.17 billion)
- Falls to lower level – 8.7% ($5.4 billion)
- Struck by object/equipment – 8.6% ($5.31 billion)
- Other exertions of bodily reactions – 6.7% ($4.15 billion)
- Roadway incidents (with land motor vehicles) – 4.8% ($2.96 billion)
- Slip or trip (without fall) – 3.8% ($2.35 billion)
- Caught in/compressed by equipment/objects – 3.2% ($1.97 billion)
- Struck against object/equipment – 3% ($1.85 billion)
- Repetitive motion injuries involving micro-tasks – 2.9% ($1.82 billion)
High costs all-around
In addition to costing the workers’ comp industry and employers billions in medical costs, workplace injury takes a tremendous toll on the affected employee’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being. And the costs don’t stop piling-up there. The indirect toll to employers is likewise massive, including the training of new or hiring of temporary employees, lost productivity, and damages to quality and company reputation.
Pushing for change
By highlighting these direct costs, the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index aims to shed light on the most serious workplace accidents, providing these statistics as a benchmark for safety performance and to better highlight the need for safety improvements and tools.
Workers comp management issues stacking up? Get the help you need from Minnesota Comp Advisor today.
Fall injuries are a significant workers comp management burden, adding an estimated $70 billion annually to workers’ comp and medical costs in the U.S. Published data from the BLS points to 261,930 privately employed and government workers missing a day or more of work, and 798 workers dying annually from fall-related injuries. Is your workplace harboring fall hazards?
Industries experiencing the highest frequency of fall-related injuries and deaths include:
- Construction, which holds the highest frequency of fall-related mortality.
- Extraction occupations.
- Health services, wholesale and retail, who hold the highest counts of nonfatal injuries.
- Transportation and material moving.
- Building cleaning and maintenance.
Developing strategies to reduce the toll of fall injuries
Both federal regulations and industry standards exist to aid in the prevention of falls in the workplace, including specific measures and performance-based recommendations. Unfortunately, the perpetuity of unsafe practices alongside a lackluster (or absent) safety culture across many industries continue to contribute to steady fall injury rates year after year.
Only continued, concerted efforts on the part of all involved parties, from regulators to industry leaders, unions and professional associations, safety professionals, employers and employees will bring about change. This will require knowledge, the implementation of essential safety tools and procedures, employee education, and the upholding of a safety culture in the workplace.
Do you know what causes falls?
Fall incidents in the work environment frequently involve:
- Slippery surfaces
- Cluttered or unstable walking/working surfaces
- Edges that have not been identified/protected
- Wall openings
- Floor holes
- Poor/unsafe ladder positioning
- Misused fall protection
Proper workers comp management means you can’t fall into bad habits. Learn how to make better ones with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.
Workers comp insurance consultants know the causes of on-the-job injury often involve more than obvious answers, and are rooted in deeper, underlying workplace situations. Are you neglecting to uncover them?
Many factors can contribute to workplace incidents:
- Task-related factors
The physical and mental demands of a task, task pace, total workload, clarity of procedures, and conflicts between policy and practices (shortcuts) often contribute to worksite incidents.
- Environmental factors
Access to safety gear, work area layout and space, equipment/tools used (including design and maintenance), as well as seemingly common factors like lighting, noise, air quality, and temperature are all part-and-parcel of the workplace safety puzzle.
- Organizational issues
The business’ culture of safety (inspections, maintenance, safety programs), staffing/scheduling practices, communication and reporting all drive success (or failure).
- Workforce complications
Experience and training, employee attitudes and perception of risks, fatigue and stress can all play a role.
How can these underlying causes be detected?
In-depth analysis is essential to inspiring meaningful change – analysis that goes beyond the human error, to ask and uncover why an error was made. Fact-finding and not fault-finding, or a ‘systemic approach’ is essential to preventing a hostile environment.
How can this be accomplished? Incident investigation, worksite inspections, job task analysis, surveys, and more can help root out and identify actual and potential injury and illness catalysts. However, across-the-board cooperation is key, including health and safety professionals, committee members, supervisors, and especially employees.
Workers comp insurance consultants have the skills it takes to detect patterns of injury and prevent needless claims. Do you have a skilled consultant on your side? Head-off injuries at the pass with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.
The Injury Impact Report, recently released by the country’s largest workers compensation carrier The Travelers Companies, is shedding light on the most recent causes of workplace injuries. In a review of more than 1.5 million workers comp claims filed between 2010 and 2014 by businesses spanning different industries and sizes…
The top five injuries as a percentage of total claim include:
- Sprains and strains – 30%.
Cuts or punctures – 19%.
- Topped all lists, except small businesses.
- Resulted in 57 missed workdays on average.
Contusions (bruises) – 12%.
Inflammation – 5%.
- Topped the list for small businesses.
- 24 missed workdays on average.
Fractures – 5%.
- 91 missed workdays on average.
- 78 missed workdays on average.
The top five most frequent causes of injuries are:
- Material handling – 32%.
- Trips, slips, and falls – 16%.
- Collisions/struck by object – 10%.
- Accidents related to tools – 7%.
- Traumas that occur overtime (such as overuse/strain) – 4%.
Injuries with the highest average incurred costs
Typically occurring less frequently overall, these included:
- Multiple trauma injuries (simultaneous breakage of multiple bones.)
Data analysis also revealed injuries were more prevalent in some industries than others, specifically:
- Materials handling, the top cause of injuries overall, is most common in the retail and manufacturing industries, equating to 40% of injuries in both sectors.
- Falls from height were the leading cause of injury in both construction and retail.
- Eye injuries are one of the most frequent types in construction and manufacturing.
Workplace injuries taking a toll on your workers comp costs? Stack the odds in your favor. Enlist the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.
If the thought of injuries in the trash room conjures up images of one of the Three Stooges slipping on a banana peel, you’re probably not alone, however trash rooms – banana peel lined or not – are among the most dangerous rooms in multi-family properties and businesses. So, allowing workplace injury prevention to slip here (every pun intended) could land you in hot water.
No laughing matter
Moving a dumpster at an apartment or business is one of the most dangerous jobs an employee can do. Manually pushing or pulling heavy dumpsters curbside for trash removal can result in serious injury: The average cost of a claim for an injury in the trash room is more than $41,000.
An uphill battle
There is typically no good way to push or pull a dumpster out of its location. And this mountainous duty is often left to a single worker, particularly at smaller businesses. Rough terrain, wet surfaces, inclement weather and more can all combine to create a hazardous situation that dramatically increases the risk of slips and falls. Pushing and pulling the dumpster also easily results in strains and sprains, particularly in the back and shoulder, which could have been easily prevented. The possibility of fraud adds additional complications.
10,000 pounds of cure
WasteCaddy Dumpster Mover, a $5,000 device costing far less than a single claim, can greatly reduce the risk of injury, engineering out the potential for strains, sprains, slips and falls to ensure employee safety in the trash room.
Workplace injury prevention is no walk in the park. Find a safer path to savings with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.
Workman's comp injury can create a veritable minefield for employers and employees alike. The timing of returning injured employees to work can be tricky, as can assigning duties that work with an employee’s limitations that are meaningful enough to offer fulfillment.
Is your injury management program effective?
Effective programs are not responsive; they are in place before injury happens. If your business has an injury management program that overlooks key elements, you’ll never realize its full benefits.
A comprehensive program must include:
- Injury prevention.
Training that prevents injuries before they occur.
Before injury, a written return-to-work policy must be in place that is reviewed on hire and annually thereafter. Include detailed job descriptions, and a job demand evaluation that ID’s specific tasks/physical demands for each job.
- Injury management/employee wellness program.
A working relationship with a walk-in-clinic or occupational center is critical for when injuries occur.
- A specialist in charge.
Assign a specific employee to be responsible for administering the return-to-work program with a thorough knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act, and state workers’ compensation statutes.
- Input from multiple ranks…
Upper, middle, lower management, as well as employees, can offer eye-opening recommendations from the frontline.
- Post-accident procedures.
Include a list of tasks that accommodate the injured employee’s restrictions. Send a copy of modified-duty descriptions to the treating physician for approval. Then notify the worker in writing of doctor’s approval - and that you can accommodate their restrictions back at work. Educate supervisors on specifics, then communicate the offer to your insurance carrier.
- Follow up.
Monitor employees until release to full-duty or Maximum Medical Improvement. Review the final work status, noting any ADA-compliant permanent restrictions.
Don’t lose the workman's comp injury war. Injured employees can return to work successfully. Enlist the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor today.