Here are the top 10 most costly U.S. workplace injuries

Original post

Workplace injuries and accidents are the near the top of every employer’s list of concerns.Here is the countdown of the top 10 causes and direct costs of the most disabling U.S. workplace injuries. The definitions and examples can be found at the BLS website.

  1. Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks

Some of these tasks may include a word processor who looks from the computer monitor to a document and back several times a day or the cashier at the local grocery store who is scanning and bagging groceries for several hours at a time.

  1. Struck against object or equipment

This category of workplace injury applies to workers who are hurt by forcible contact or impact, for example, an office worker who bumps into a filing cabinet or an assembly line worker who stubs a toe on stacked parts.

  1. Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects

These workplace injuries result from workers being caught in equipment or machinery that’s still running as well as in rolling, shifting or sliding objects.

Picture the scene in a movie in which wine barrels topple over, catching the bad guy beneath them, only in this case, it’s the employee whose job it may be to stack the barrels. Perhaps it’s the experienced worker who removes a machine guard to dislodge material that’s stuck and gets a finger caught when the machine starts moving again.

  1. Slip or trip without fall

Occasionally, workers do slip or trip without hitting the ground. Think of the employee entering the workplace who slips on icy stairs but is able to grab the handrail to prevent hitting the ground. But the action of grabbing the handrail may cause the employee to injure his shoulder or wrench her knee.

  1. Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicle

The worker may be the driver, a passenger or a pedestrian, but the cause of the injury is an automobile, truck or motorcycle.

  1. Other exertions or bodily reactions

These motions include bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, climbing or stepping, according to the BLS. Consider, for example, a roofing contractor’s employees who are continually climbing up and down ladders.

  1. Struck by object or equipment

This category covers a range of possible injuries, from being struck by an object dropped by a fellow worker to being caught in a swinging door or gate. Picture the construction worker on a scaffold dropping a hammer on the worker below.

  1. Falls to lower level

The roofer could fall to the ground from the roof or ladder, or an office worker standing on a stepstool, reaching for a heavy file box, could fall to the floor.

  1. Falls on same level

The second most costly workplace injury, surprisingly, is a fall on the same level. Picture the employee who is walking through the office and falls over an uneven floor surface or someone leaning too far back in an office chair and toppling over.

  1. Overexertion involving an outside source

The BLS explains that overexertion occurs when the physical effort of a worker who lifts, pulls, pushes, holds, carries, wields or throws an object results in an injury.

The object being handled is often heavier than the weight that a worker should be handling or the object is handled improperly. For example, lifting from a shelf that’s too high, or in a space that’s cramped. Within the broad category of sprains, strains, and tears caused by overexertion, most incidents resulted specifically from overexertion in lifting.

Risk managers should work with their carriers and workplace safety specialists to minimize injuries, lost work days and workers’ compensation costs.With a little effort, employers can understand more about the causes of accidents and injuries in their organizations, identify the appropriate actions to reduce the number of injuries and minimize employee disabilities from workplace accidents.

Can Companies Screen Employees to Prevent Workplace Injuries?

Originally posted February 06, 2014 by Sandy Smith on

Many companies are considering implementing functional capacity evaluations to ensure employees are fit enough to start new jobs or are ready to return to work after an injury.

What happens when increasing staff costs meet tighter skilled labor markets? Productivity becomes an issue, with increasingly more companies – particularly those with physically demanding work – looking to minimize staff downtime and ensure that workflow proceeds as smoothly as possible.

One way companies in Singapore are doing so is by accessing and ensuring that their employees are fit enough for the actual physical work to be done. The physical fitness level assessment of an employee to do his or her job is known as a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). As the name suggests, it measures the capacity of an employee to perform the tasks that their jobs require.

"In the past, it was generally large, foreign [companies] that were asking for FCEs but these days we have done evaluations for local companies,” said Sylvia Ho, the principal physiotherapist at Core Concepts, one of the largest private musculoskeletal healthcare groups in Singapore, specializing in spors medicine, workers’ compensation cases, massotherapy and physical and occupational therapy. “We see increasing demand [for FCEs] in the future. Rising operating cost and labor tightness will make the cost of conducting FCEs more and more viable.”

Functional capacity evaluations measure the ability of employees to carry out certain functional movements. Measurements include strength levels and stamina of certain basic movements involved in most job functions.

Ho said she takes it a little further to combine a musculoskeletal screening that also assesses the body's muscle, joint and skeletal structure to provide information about things like joint flexibility. “With our physiotherapy background, we aim to take a more comprehensive approach in detecting potential problems that may occur in the future,” she said. “Our clients come from a range of industries, including the pharmaceutical industry, the oil and gas industry and heavy manufacturing.”

FCE is only one piece of the productivity puzzle, but one of growing importance, said Ho.

“Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has adopted a national, strategic and long-term approach to achieving sustainable, continuous improvement in workplace safety and health performance. We hope to play our role by helping industries prevent avoidable workplace health incidences,” she said.