One Billion Dollars Spent on Injuries a Week

injury costs toolbox talkOne Billion Dollars a Week (Safety Talk)

Disabling workplace injuries are a huge cost to employers across the country. A new study published in 2017 by the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index estimates serious, nonfatal workplace injuries now amount to nearly $60 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs per year.

This annual cost averages out to over $1 billion dollars a week spent on the direct cost of these injuries. The study looked at the top ten injury causes that resulted in the highest direct costs for companies.

Top Ten Injury Causes Cited in the Study

1. Overexertion involving outside sources ranked first among the leading causes of disabling injury. This type of injury cause includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing objects. These injuries cost businesses $13.79 billion in direct costs and accounted for 23% of the overall national burden.
2. Falls on same level ranked second with direct costs of $10.62 billion, which accounted for 17.7%.
3. Falls to a lower level ranked third at $5.50 billion or 9.2%.
4. Struck by object or equipment ranked fourth at $4.43 billion or 7.4%.
5. Other exertions or bodily reactions ranked fifth at $3.89 billion or 6.5% of the total injury burden.

The above five injury causes accounted for 63.8% of the total cost burden. The next five injury causes cited by the study only accounted for 19.5% of the total direct cost of injuries.

6. Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicles.
7. Slip/trip without fall.
8. Caught-in or between equipment or object.
9. Struck-by object or equipment.
10. Repetitive motions involving microtasks.


The above ten causes of disabling injury were responsible for over 83% of the total cost to companies, with the majority of that cost going to the top five causes listed. Behind the dollar signs are many employees who will be negatively affected for possibly the rest of their lives due to their injury. Take this information and look at what specific hazards are present in your work areas or during your work tasks. How can these hazards be properly eliminated or mitigated as much as possible?

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