Causes and Costs of the Top 10 Disabling Workplace Injuries

Doctor examines a back x-ray

Disabling workplace injuries cost businesses more than $58 billion every year. The annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index documents the top ten causes of workplace injuries that cause an employee to miss five or more days from work. It then ranks them by their direct cost to employers, considering medical and lost-wage payments. The index is based on data from 3 years prior, so the 2022 index uses 2019 incident data.

Top 10 Disabling Workplace Injuries by Direct Cost to U.S. Businesses

  1. Overexertion Involving Outside Sources – $12.63 billion – Related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing
  2. Falls on the Same Level – $10.26 billion – Such as slipping on a wet floor
  3. Struck by Object or Equipment – $5.66 billion – Such as an object falling from above
  4. Falls to Lower Level – $5.07 billion – Most often, falls from a ladder or platform
  5. Other Exertions or Bodily Reactions – $4.01 billion – Injuries from bending, twisting, reaching or similar
  6. Roadway Incidents Involving Motorized Vehicles – $3.59 billion – Highway accidents are one example
  7. Slip or Trip Without Fall – $2.52 billion – Trips on cords are common
  8. Caught In or Compressed By Equipment – $2.19 billion – Getting caught in rollers or gears
  9. Struck Against Object or Equipment – $1.87 Billion – Walking into an open drawer or door – Ouch!
  10. Incidents Involving Off-road Vehicles / Equipment – $1.39 billion – Construction sites have plenty of hazards

Workplace Injury Costs by Industry

The Index also reports the causes and costs of the most serious workplace injuries for eight specific industries that account for a high proportion of all national workplace injuries. The industries with the five highest workplace injury costs were:

  1. Construction – $11.3 billion
  2. Manufacturing – $8.42 billion
  3. Professional and Business Services – $7.60 billion
  4. Healthcare and Social Assistance – $5.39 billion
  5. Retail – $5.25 billion

In 2021, there were 2.2 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The incidence rate for total recordable cases (TRC) in private industry reached 2.3 per FTE worker.