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Age, Experience Matter in Cost of Workplace Injuries

Age, Experience Matter in Cost of Workplace Injuries

May 8, 2023
Employees in their first year on a job account for 34% of workers' compensation claims, resulting in 7 million missed workdays.

After examing more than 1.2 million worker compensation claims from 2016 to 2020, a new study from The Travelers Companies, Inc. shows that an employee’s time spent in a particular role and their age were driving factors in injury frequency and cost of claims, respectively.

“The data clearly highlights two populations to watch when it comes to workplace injuries: new and aging employees,” said Rich Ives, vice president of Business Insurance Claim, Travelers, in a statement. “As employers navigate turnover and a multigenerational workforce, it’s important that they stay aware of the risks that come with changing worker demographics so they can help keep employees safe and businesses running.”

Employees in their first year on a job, regardless of their age or industry experience, represented more than one-third (34%) of all claims and accounted for nearly 7 million missed workdays due to injury.

Though they were injured less often than most other age groups, employees ages 60 and older had higher average costs per claim, totaling nearly 15% more than employees between the ages of 35 and 49 and approximately 140% more than those ages 18 to 24.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • The most common injuries – At 38%, strains and sprains accounted for the most injuries, followed by fractures (13%); contusions (8%); inflammation (7%); and dislocations (7%).
  • The most common causes of injury – Overexertion caused the most claims (29%), followed by slips, trips and falls (23%); being struck by an object (13%); motor vehicle accidents (5%); and caught-in or caught-between hazards (5%).
  • The costliest common claims – Dislocations were the costliest of the most common injuries, coming in at almost three times the average cost per claim. Slips, trips and falls were among the most common causes of injuries and cost 35% more than the average claim, closely followed by motor vehicle accidents (33%).
  • Workdays missed due to injury – On average, the injuries analyzed resulted in 71 missed workdays.

--The construction industry had the highest average number of lost workdays per injury (99 workdays), followed by transportation (77 workdays).

 --Injured employees from small businesses missed an average of 79 workdays.

--Slips, trips and falls caused employees to miss an average of 83 workdays, followed by motor vehicle accidents (79 workdays); overexertion (71 workdays); and being struck by an object (67 workdays).

As for the outliers, amputations led to some of the most expensive claims, costing nearly five times the average, followed by electric shock and multiple trauma injuries, such as breaking multiple bones at once. Together, these injuries accounted for slightly more than 1% of claims.

Ives added, “After an injury, an employee’s road back to work can be difficult, and the longer they remain out, the harder it can be for them to return – especially if they’re dealing with a psychosocial barrier, such as fear or worry. That’s why a holistic approach to recovery is so critical, and why we recommend employers promptly file claims after an incident – so that injured workers can immediately receive the help they need.”

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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