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Overexertion is leading cause of disabling injuries

On Jan. 4, Liberty Mutual released the 2016 Workplace Safety Index, which is based on 2013 injury data from Liberty Mutual, the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers in Tennessee may not be surprised that overexertion involving external sources was the leading cause of disabling injuries in that year.

Based on the index, disabling injuries cost workplaces a total of $61.88 billion in 2013, and $51.06 billion or 82.5 percent of that went toward covering the top 10 causes of those injuries. The top five causes accounted for 64.8 percent of the total cost burden.

The biggest cost was overexertion injuries and bodily reactions at $19.23 billion or 31.1 percent of the total burden. Overexertion involving external sources accounted for $15.08 billion of that, and other overexertion and bodily reactions accounted for $4.15 billion. The second-most costly cause of disabling injuries was falling on the same level, which accounted for $10.17 billion or 16.4 percent of the national burden. Falling to the lower level was the third-most costly cause at $5.4 billion or 8.7 percent, and being hit with equipment or an object was the fourth-most costly at $5.31 billion or 8.6 percent.

Of the top 10 causes of disabling work injuries, the last five were roadway accidents involving motor land vehicles, slipping or tripping, being compressed or caught by objects or equipment, being hit against equipment or objects, and doing repetitive motions while micro-tasking. Combined, these accounted for $10.95 billion or 17.7 percent of the national cost burden.

A Tennessee employee who suffers a work injury may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits that can include medical treatment and some wage replacement. Many workers obtain the assistance of an attorney when preparing and filing their claims.

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