Did you know that maintaining a safe workplace can lower the cost of workers’ compensation insurance? It’s true. Employers with fewer workplace injury claims may enjoy valuable premium credits. Alternatively, employers with more injury claims may suffer higher insurance premiums. The resulting premium difference can be significant, particularly for employers, like those in Florida, who may be facing substantial premium increases.
Employers wanting to take advantage of the correlation between workplace injuries and insurance premiums need to implement safety programs that effectively reduce, if not eliminate, workplace injuries. The first step to developing an effective safety program is to identify the most common workplace accidents and the most common employee injuries.
Travelers recently analyzed more than 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims submitted from 2010 though 2014 to learn more about the most common and costliest workplace accidents and injuries. According to Travelers Injury Impact Report, the top five causes of workplace accidents were:
- Material handling (32%)
- Slips, trips and falls (16%)
- Being struck by or colliding with an object (10%)
- Tools (7%)
- Cumulative trauma injury caused by overuse or strain over time (4%)
Material handling was actually the most common cause of accidents for all businesses and across all industries analyzed in the report. The most frequent material handling injuries were strains/sprains, cuts/punctures, contusions, inflammation and fractures. These injuries typically occur when employees are lifting, lowering, filling, emptying or carrying items.
The top five workers’ compensation injuries were:
- Strains and sprains (30%)
- Cuts or punctures (19%)
- Contusions (12%)
- Inflammation (5%)
- Fractures (5%)
Except for small businesses, strains and sprains topped all lists for the most common type of injury. For small businesses, cuts or punctures were the most common injury—strains and sprains were second.
The average number of days away from work for the top 5 workplace injuries was:
- Strains and sprains (57 days)
- Cuts or punctures (24 days)
- Contusions (27 days)
- Inflammation (91 days)
- Fractures (78 days)
It’s interesting, and perhaps fortunate, that the costliest injuries did not turn out to be the most common injuries. According to the report, the injuries with the highest average cost per claim were:
- Amputation ($102,500)
- Dislocation ($97,100)
- Electric shock ($55,200)
- Crushing ($54,600)
- Multiple trauma ($42,400)
The average cost per claim involving the five most common injuries was:
- Strains and sprains ($17,000)
- Cuts or punctures ($8,200)
- Contusions ($8,000)
- Inflammation ($24,500)
- Fractures ($42,400)
Employers have the ability to affect their workers’ compensation insurance premiums , for better or worse. Knowing how and why workplace injuries occur puts employers in a better position to develop and implement their own safety and training programs. When done effectively, employers may have fewer workplace injuries and may end up paying less for workers’ compensation insurance.
Please contact us if you would like more information about controlling workers’ compensation insurance costs.
Additional information is also available in our weekly Risk Management Newsletters.