While there is a risk for injury on any job, it is always of concern for those in construction and labor-intensive positions, such as contract glazing. According to one insurance company, businesses across the country spend an average of $1 billion a week on serious, nonfatal workplace injuries.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for the fiscal year of 2020, from October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020, the construction industry held three of the top five spots in its most frequently cited standards following its inspections of worksites. Likewise, the Center for Construction Research and Training reported that the number of fatal injuries in construction reached 1,102 in 2019, the highest level since before 2011.
Injuries that don’t result in fatalities can still have an impact on workers and businesses. Research has shown that even disabling, nonfatal injuries come with a high price tag for American employers. A report released in July with data collected in 2018 from Liberty Mutual Insurance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) lists the top causes of disabling injuries in Liberty Mutual’s Workplace Safety Index 2021. The annually developed index ranks the top 10 causes of serious, nonfatal workplace injuries, which caused employees to miss work for more than five days, by their direct costs to U.S. businesses. The 2021 Index shows these injuries amounted to $58.61 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs, with 89.2% or $52.3 billion, coming from the top 10.
The following injury causes accounted for nearly 69% of the total cost burden, according to the report:
– Overexertion involving outside sources (handling objects) ranked first among the leading causes of disabling injuries. The category includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing objects. Overexertion costs businesses $13.30 billion in direct costs and accounts for 22.7% of the overall national burden.
– Falls on same level ranked second, with direct costs of $10.58 billion, and accounts for 18.1% of the total injury burden.
– Falls to a lower level came in at third on the list at $6.26 billion and 10.7% of the burden.
– Struck by object or equipment (being hit by objects) was fourth at $5.61 billion and 9.6%.
– Other exertions or bodily reactions, which include bending, reaching, twisting, climbing, crawling, kneeling, sitting, standing, walking and running, ranked fifth at $4.71 billion and 8.0% of the total injury burden.
The report said the causes ranked six to 10 combined for 20.1% of the total direct cost of disabling injuries. These include vehicle crashes, slips or trips without falling, being struck or colliding with objects, being caught in or compressed by equipment or objects and repetitive motions involving microtasks.
Direct costs of all disabling work-related injuries equal $58.61 billion, with the top 10 causes comprising 89.2 percent, or $52.3 billion of the total cost burden.