In fact, over half of the 12.1 percent increase between 1998 and 2002 happened in 2002, despite a drop in the number of serious injuries over those four years.
However, the findings also revealed that the ranking of the top nine causes of workplace injuries was the same for the past four years, giving risk and safety managers clear direction for preventing the most expensive injuries.
â€œIf you want to dramatically cut workers compensation costs, follow the numbers not the headlines,â€ notes Dr. Tom Leamon, Director of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, who presented the 2004 Indexâ€™s findings at the National Workers Compensation and Disability Conference. â€œUnderstand why your employees get hurt and address these sources, rather than the latest safety fads. The top causes of injuries identified by the Index may not make the front page, but theyâ€™re probably driving your costs.â€
The top 10 workplace injuries in 2002, along with their cost and percentage, were:
1) Overexertion, $13.2 billion, 26.6 %
2) Falls on Same Level, $6.2 billion, 12.5 %
3) Bodily Reaction, $5.3 billion, 10.8 %
4) Falls to Lower Level, $4.6 billion, 9.2 %
5) Struck by Object, $4.4 billion, 8.9 %
6) Repetitive Motion, $2.8 billion, 5.7 %
7) Highway Incident, $2.6 billion, 5.2 %
8) Struck against Object, $2.3 billion, 4.7 %
9) Caught in or Compressed by, $1.9 billion, 3.8 %
10) Assaults, $0.4 billion, 0.9 %
â€œAll otherâ€ accounted for $5.8 billion, 11.7 %. The total cost: $49.6 billion.
Other highlights from the latest study include:
What can risk and safety managers do to control the impact of fewer but more expensive serious workplace injuries? Dr. Leamon says there are five key steps to take:
1) Identify the injuries that drive your workers compensation costs, using the Index as a starting point.
2) Prioritize the ones you want to address.
3) Set clear targets for reducing each injury.
4) Put in place the tactics and training that will prevent these injuries.
5) Regularly track performance and update the plan.