Handling Objects (Overexertion) Still Most Costly of Workplace Injuries

Topping the list of most expensive workplace injuries for many years running handling objects (including overexertion and repetitive actions) cost employers almost $21 billion in workers compensation direct costs last year according to a recent analysis. Coming in a distant second were falls (same and lower level) at $16.5 billion, followed by being struck or caught in equipment (including vehicle accidents) at $13.6 billion.

According to the 2020 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the ten most costly causes of workplace injuries and illnesses are:

Injury Cause:Cost (billions):Percentage:
Handling objects (e.g., heavy boxes)$13.9823.5%
Falls on same level$10.8418.2%
Struck by object or equipment$6.1210.3%
Falls to lower level$5.719.6%
Awkward postures (over-exertions)$4.697.9%
Vehicle crashes$3.566.0%
Slip or trip without a fall$2.063.5%
Repetitive motions involving microtasks$2.053.4%
Colliding with objects$2.003.4%
Running equipment or machines$1.923.2%
Cost of the top 10 most disabling workplace injuries$52.9388.82%
Total cost of the most disabling workplace injuries$59.59100%
Source: Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety

The total cost of combined object handling injuries in the workplace rose from $18.4 billion in 2019, for an increase of more than 14% in the past year. The report doesn’t provide a breakdown of specific cost factors, although it is likely that total costs rose due to a combination of higher number of claims made as well as higher healthcare/compensation costs incurred during the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *