The cost of workers’ compensation insurance continues to rise, but individual employers can control the impact by containing the number of serious injuries that result in six or more days away from work – the point, in most states, when workers’ compensation kicks in.

As the biggest workers’ compensation insurer in the nation, Liberty Mutual tracks the most disabling workplace injuries and their costs in order to help its customers focus on injury prevention in those areas with the most potential impact on their insurance costs. Based on the company’s data, the accompanying charts (see below) show the total cost of claims and the percent of total injuries in each of the top ten injury categories.

In 2006 (the most recent data year), employers’ compensation insurance covered $48.6 billion in workplace injury claims each year. Since the survey began in 1998, the top ten categories have remained similar from year to year. This year, the top five were the same as last year. Three of the top five – overexertion, falls on the same level and bodily reactions – often result in sprain and strain injuries, the most costly injuries in U.S. industry.

The LHSFNA’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Division publishes materials to help employers contain injuries of all kinds. Added last year, Sprains and Strains in Construction is designed to help specifically with these most common injuries. The full array of Fund publications can be viewed at the online catalogue. OSH Division staff can also help with onsite safety audits and consultation. To better understand how workers’ compensation insurance rates are established for any particular company, review Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Manage Risk, Improve Profitability

[Steve Clark]