What are the most common types of workers’ compensation claims and their causes?
The nation’s largest workers’ compensation carrier, the Travelers Companies, reviewed over a million and a half workers’ comp claims that were filed from 2010 to 2014, including claims filed from various industries and companies of all sizes, and they identified the most common claims for various industries as well as the most common causes of workplace injuries that resulted in workers’ compensation claims.
Although the statistics are nationwide, they reflect our own experience at Axelrod and Associate representing workers’ compensation claimants in SC.
Below, we will take a look at the most common types of workers’ compensation claims, the most common causes of workplace injuries, and some of the injury risks that workers face in specific industries.
The Most Common Types of Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Out of all workers’ compensation claims, the most common injuries include:
- Strains and sprains – 30%,
- Cuts and punctures – 19%,
- Bruises – 12%,
- Inflammation – 5%, and
- Fractures/ broken bones – 5%.
The breakdown changes somewhat based on the specific industry that you look at, but strains and sprains are at the top of the list for all groups except small businesses. For small businesses, cuts and punctures top the list, and strains and sprains come in at second place.
Eye injuries were also among the more common workplace injury claims. Although they didn’t make the top five across all industries combined, eye injuries were among the most common claims in the construction and manufacturing industries.
Injuries with the Highest Costs
The injuries that had the highest overall costs weren’t necessarily the most common injuries – these include:
- Injuries caused by electric shock,
- Crushing injuries, and
- Multiple trauma injuries – like multiple broken bones.
These types of injuries result in not only higher medical costs, but more time lost from work and more disabilities whether temporary or permanent.
The Most Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
A more important question is what caused these injuries? Most were avoidable and could have been prevented through proper training, protective gear, and workplace safety policies.
The most common causes of workplace injuries include:
- Handling of materials – 32%,
- Slips, trips, or falls – 16%,
- Being hit by an object or colliding with an object – 10%,
- Tool-related injuries – 7%, and
- Repetitive trauma including overuse or strain on certain body parts – 4%.
Another common type of injury that often results from material handling is occupational disease – including skin diseases, inflammation, lung disease, and other complications that are caused by exposure to chemicals on the job.
Causes of Workplace Injuries by Industry
Some types of injuries and conditions that lead to injuries are more common in certain industries. For example:
- Accidents related to material handling are more common in the manufacturing and retail industries,
- Falls from heights are more common in the construction and retail industries,
- Motor vehicle accidents are more common in the oil and gas industry, and
- Eye injuries are more common in the manufacturing and construction industries.
How can Workplace Injuries be Prevented?
One thing that employers can learn from a detailed analysis of the most common types of workplace injuries and their causes is how to prevent these injuries. When employers stress safety in the workplace and make it a priority, fewer people are hurt on the job.
- Safety policies must be in place – safety measures that are specific to the hazards faced by workers,
- Safety issues must be immediately addressed – foremen, supervisors, and managers are responsible for correcting safety hazards or implementing safety policies when problems are brought to their attention, and
- Workplace leaders – owners, supervisors, and managers, for example, must constantly emphasize a culture of safety in the workplace. When safety precautions are routine and every employee is on board, you have a safer and healthier work environment.
What Should You Do if You are Injured on the Job in SC?
If you are injured on the job in SC, you should:
- Immediately report the injury to your employer – there is a 90-day deadline, and you may lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits if you wait too long,
- Seek medical attention immediately and follow up on any recommendations that are made by your doctors, and
- Contact your workers’ compensation attorney on the Axelrod team to get help filing your claim, gathering your medical records and other evidence that you will need, presenting your claim to the workers’ compensation, and filing any appeals when necessary.
Your Myrtle Beach workers’ compensation attorney on the Axelrod team will help you to determine whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage, help you to make your claim, and represent you before the workers’ compensation commission.