DATE: October 22, 2003
Employee Injuries Cost U.S. Businesses nearly $1 Billion per Week
BOSTON - While American workplaces are becoming safer, the cost of on-the-job injuries continues to rise, according to the findings of the latest Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index announced today.
“Managing the significant and growing cost of workplace injuries is a critical challenge facing all companies, regardless of size, industry and location,” notes Brian Melas, a senior vice president of commercial insurance at Liberty Mutual. “Improving workplace safety is key to managing this nearly $1 billion per week impact - prevent the injury, avoid the associated costs. For example, Hard Rock Café’s U.S. operation saved almost $400,000 in 2001 and 2002 by reducing workplace injuries at a faster rate than the restaurant industry as a whole.”
The Workplace Safety Index ranks the leading causes of serious on-the-job injuries – those resulting in an employee missing six or more days from work – based on direct costs – payments to injured employees and their medical care providers. The Safety Index can help companies focus their safety efforts by highlighting the causes of the most expensive workplace injuries.
Findings – Cost going up, number of accidents coming down
Significant findings from the latest Workplace Safety Index include:
|Injury Cause:||Cost:||Percent of Total Cost:|
|Overexertion ||$12.5 billion||27.3 percent|
|Falls on Same Level||$5.7 billion||12.6 percent|
|Bodily Reaction ||$4.7 billion||10.2 percent|
|Falls To Lower Level||$4.1 billion||9.0 percent|
|Struck by Object ||$3.9 billion||8.6 percent|
|Repetitive Motion ||$2.9 billion||6.3 percent|
|Highway Incident||$2.3 billion||5.1 percent|
|Struck Against Object ||$1.9 billion||4.1 percent|
|Caught in, Compressed by||$1.7 billion||3.7 percent|
|Assaults & Violent Acts||$0.4 billion||1.0 percent|
“The latest Index findings tell employers to expand their efforts to address the fastest growing causes of work-related injuries – Overexertion, Falls on Same Level and Bodily Reaction,” notes Karl Jacobson, a senior vice president of loss prevention with Liberty Mutual. “This is where there is real potential to get at the benefits of a safer workplace – protecting employees and avoiding the financial impact of on-the-job injuries.”
More information on the latest Workplace Safety Index findings, tips on how employers can prevent the leading causes of workplace injuries, and case studies showing how companies improved safety and the benefits they received, are available at www.libertymutual.com.
The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety prepares the annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index as part of its ongoing efforts to help employers better protect workers and manage the total cost of risk.
The current Workplace Safety Index is based on data from 2001, the latest year for which data is available, and tracks performance since 1998.
In developing the Index, researchers apply Liberty Mutual 2001 workers compensation claims cost to the workplace injury frequency information reported by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics for injuries occurring that year. To provide a broader perspective, the relative proportions of each injury type are applied to the national estimates of the cost of workers compensation benefits from the National Academy of Social Insurance, which includes information from a broad range of workers compensation insurance providers.
Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified international group of insurance companies and one of the largest multi-line insurers in the North American property and casualty industry. The group has $14.5 billion in consolidated revenue and ranks 129th among the Fortune 500 largest corporations in the United States. The A.M. Best Company has rated Liberty Mutual “A” (Excellent).
Liberty Mutual has been the leading private provider of workers compensation insurance, programs and services in the United States for more than 65 years. It also provides a wide range of products and services, including: general liability, commercial auto and business property; group disability and life; private passenger auto and homeowners insurance; integrated disability management; individual life insurance and annuities; structured settlements; and international programs.
Liberty Mutual Group employs more than 37,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world. The company’s web site address is www.libertymutual.com.
 “Overexertion” injuries are caused from excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing of an object.
 “Bodily Reaction” injuries result from bending, climbing, and slipping or tripping without falling.
 “Struck by Object” injuries, such as a tool falling on a worker from above.
 “Repetitive Motion” injuries are due to repeated stress or strain.
 “Struck against Object” injuries, such as a worker walking into a door frame.