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Are employers paying $1 billion a week in work comp costs?

Every day, hundreds of thousands of employers here in California and across the United States lose significant amounts of money because of serious workplace injuries. But how much money are they losing exactly? Believe it or not, it can sometimes be difficult to find comprehensive statistics reflecting the true costs of these workplace injuries.

Interestingly, BOLT Insurance Agency recently published a rather fascinating piece providing an in-depth look at the true costs of workplace injuries, as well as their most common causes.

While a complete summary of the piece is clearly beyond the scope of a single blog post, here are some of the more interesting findings:

  • U.S. employers pay an average of $1 billion per week in work comp benefits
  • The indirect costs of workplace injuries (replacement training, accident investigation, lost productivity, lower morale, etc.) are often up to 20 times higher than the direct costs (work comp payments, medical expenses, legal fees, etc.)
  • U.S. employers paid $58.3 billion in work comp benefits in 2009 alone ($28.9 billion in medical benefits and $29.4 billion in cash benefits)

BOLT also ranked the ten most common causes of disabling work injuries:

  • Overexertion (25.4 percent)
  • Falls on the same level (15.8 percent)
  • Falls to a lower level (10.7 percent)
  • Bodily reaction (bending, climbing, sitting, tripping, etc.) (10.5 percent)
  • Struck by objects (9.3 percent)
  • Highway accidents (4.3 percent)
  • Stuck in/compression-related accidents (4.1 percent)
  • Struck against object (4.0 percent)
  • Repetitive motion (3.9 percent)
  • Assault/violence (1.2 percent)

As for the industries in which employers are most likely to see work comp claims, BOLT ranked the following in the top three:

  • Air transportation (7.3 per 100 full-time employees)
  • Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing (6.9 per 100 full-time employees)
  • Couriers/messengers (6.6 per 100 full-time employees)

Stay tuned for more fascinating stories in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


EHS Today, "Infographic: The cost of workers' comp payments is $1 billion per week," Sandy Smith, Feb. 14, 2013

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