Report Identifies Most Common Causes of Workplace Accidents and Injuries

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: August 1st, 2016

The Travelers Companies, Inc., the largest workers’ compensation carrier in the United States, has released an Injury Impact Report identifying the most common causes of workplace accidents and injuries between 2010 and 2014.

The company analyzed more than 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims and determined that the most common workplace injury was strains and sprains, accounting for 30 percent of all claims. That was followed by cuts and punctures, accounting for 19 percent of the total; contusions (injuries to muscle, bone or soft tissue), accounting for 12 percent; inflammation injuries (five percent); fractures (five percent) and all other types of injuries, comprising the remaining 29 percent of claims.

On average, strains and sprains resulted in 57 missed workdays, followed by cuts and punctures, resulting in 24 missed workdays. Inflammation and fractures caused the most time away from work at 91 and 78 workdays respectively.

The Injury Impact Report found that the most frequent causes of workplace injuries included:

  • Materials handling incidents, accounting for 32 percent of total claims. These were especially common in the manufacturing and retail industries, causing nearly 40 percent of injuries in both sectors.
  • Slips, trips and falls, accounting for 16 percent of all injury claims. Falling from height was among the top causes of injuries in both the construction and retail industries.
  • Being struck by or colliding with an object, 10 percent. Motor vehicle accidents were one of the most frequent causes of injury in the oil and gas industry.
  • Accidents involving tools, seven percent. Eye injuries were one of the most frequent types of injuries in manufacturing and construction.
  • Traumas occurring over time, four percent. These injuries typically involve part of the body being injured by overuse or strain.

“Even seemingly minor injuries, such as strains or sprains, can substantially impact an employee and slow a business’s operations and productivity,” says Woody Dwyer, Second Vice President, Workers’ Compensation, Travelers. “The most common injuries we see can often be prevented if the proper safety measures are in place, if safety issues are promptly addressed, and if leaders continuously emphasize a culture of safety with employees.”

The costliest injuries included amputations, dislocations, electric shock, and crushing and multiple trauma injuries (such as breaking multiple bones simultaneously).

The Travelers suggests a three-pronged approach for preventing employee injuries and establishing a safer workplace, starting with attracting and hiring the right candidates for the job. The other two vital elements are onboarding and training, and supporting and engaging the current workforce.

Related content:

This article lays out five steps you can take to protect your workers who lift materials manually.

More information:

Share this article with your workers to give them some tips for avoiding strains and sprains.

Share this safety talk with your workers to give them information on the importance of good ergonomics.

Use this compliance centre on ergonomics to help keep your workers healthy and injury/free.