Top 10 Causes of the Most Disabling Workplace Injuries

top10injuries The summer issue of Signature, the newsletter of Printing Industries Alliance, calls attention to “the most disabling workplace injuries” as reported by Liberty Mutual’s Workplace Safety Index. Produced annually by Liberty Mutual’s Research Institute for Safety, the Workplace Safety Index ranks work-related injuries and illnesses that cause an employee to lose six or more workdays. It combines cost data from Liberty Mutual’s workers compensation claims with frequency data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual survey of U.S. occupational injuries. The most recent index (2008) is based on data from 2006. In that year, direct workers compensation costs from the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses were estimated at $48.6 billion. The following categories accounted for 87.9% of the entire burden (percentages refer to share of all causes; dollar amounts are in billions): 1. Overexertion—injuries caused from excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, or throwing ($12.4; 25.7%) 2. Fall on same level ($6.4; 13.3%) 3. Fall to lower level ($5.3; 10.8%) 4. Bodily reaction—injuries caused from slipping or tripping without falling ($4.8; 10.0%) 5. Struck by object—e.g., a tool falling on a worker from above ($4.3; 8.9%) 6. Struck against object—e.g., a worker walking into a door ($2.5; 5.1%) 7. Highway incident ($2.4; 4.9%) 8. Caught in/compressed by ($2.1; 4.4%) 9. Repetitive motion—injuries due to repeated stress or strain ($2.0; 4.0%) 10. Assaults/violent acts ($0.4; 0.9%) The index notes that the repetitive motion category—a traditional source of concern in the bindery—dropped to the ninth rank in 2006 from seventh in 2005. This category has seen the most significant drops of any category over the nine years in which the index has been produced, according to Liberty Mutual. Writing in Signature, Jerry Banks, manager of membership services for Printing Industries Alliance, says that for every $1 invested by printers in safety programs, $4 comes back as income not lost due to decreased productivity, poor quality, customer dissatisfaction, and increased workers comp insurance costs. Printing Industries Alliance (the PIA affiliate for New York State, northern New Jersey, and northwestern Pennsylvania) offers “the OSHA 10 Hour General Industry Outreach for Printers,” aimed at helping companies create OSHA-compliant safety training programs. The information is also available to Alliance members as webinars.