10th December 2019 by Greg Santo
$1 Billion Dollars in Injuries a week, or to be precise $1,065,961,538.54 per week … According to statistics provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Academy of Social Insurance this is the estimated weekly cost to American businesses, government and industry.
Multiply that weekly cost times the 52 weeks a year and you are presented with a staggering estimated annual cost of $55,430,000,000 and this projection is only those workers who are out of work for at least five days, so a higher price is probable.
Workers compensation insurance is mandated by all 50 of the United States, and the cost of this insurance is bore by employers based on the anticipated losses based on their NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) or SIC (Standard Industrial Code) coupled with the number of employees that they have working and their history, or experience, of occupational illnesses and injuries.
For businesses and industry that have a higher incidence of injury and illnesses than the expected industry average, the underwriters and actuaries for the insurance companies assign them an exposure modification rate or EMR. An EMR of 1.0 is considered industry average, less than 1.0 is better than industry average, and greater than 1.0 is worse than industry average. The practice is very similar to automobile insurance, the more speeding tickets and automobile accidents you have, the higher the cost of your insurance.
For business and industry, this cost is factored into the business operation, and it may cost them future business opportunities and raise the cost of their product and services. It can also lead to layoffs or reduction in forces, pay cuts or no salary or hourly wage increases and decrease in product or service quality.
Liberty Mutual publishes the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index annually. Here are the breakdowns for 2019:
Injury Cause: Cost (billions); Percentage:
Overexertion involving outside sources $13.11; 23.65%
Falls on same level $10.38; 18.72%
Struck by object or equipment $5.22; 9.42%
Falls to lower level $4.98; 8.99%
Other exertions or bodily reactions $3.69; 6.65%
Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicle $2.70; 4.88%
Slip or trip without falling $2.18; 3.93%
Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects $1.93; 3.48%
Repetitive motions involving microtasks $1.59; 2.87%
Struck against object or equipment injuries $1.15; 2.07%
Total cost of the most disabling workplace $55.43; 100%
What are the lessons learned from this? That a well-executed safety and health plan is necessary and can pay for itself in savings from workers compensation costs. Other possible savings can be realized without the potential of OSHA penalties from workplace citations and reduces a business’ exposure to possible lawsuits and payouts from court judgements and settlements, not to mention attorney fees.