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These Are the Most Common, and Expensive, Injuries at Work

Being down on the job is never good, especially if being on the job is what caused it. Businesses pay a hefty $170 billion bill per year dealing with workplace injuries and illnesses, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Roughly 3 million workers a year in the U.S. private sector are injured, and the rate of injuries and illnesses remains highest among small and mid-sized companies.

Overall, some of the common causes for injury was handling materials (32 percent), followed by slips or falls (16 percent) and being struck or colliding with an object (10 percent), according to Travelers, an insurance company, which analyzed 1.5 million claims over a five-year period. It then determined what injuries were most common, how they were caused and how much they cost.

Handling materials refers to an activity that might involve lifting, lowering, filling, emptying or carrying an item, and this category caused a whole range of injuries from strains, sprains, cuts, punctures, contusions or fractures.

You may think these types of injuries are caused by more-hands on jobs, such as construction. However, that’s not the case, as manufacturing and retail environments actually saw more material-handling related injuries than any other industry.

Though the average sprain, fracture or puncture wound are among the most common injuries, more severe injuries such as amputations (for an average cost of $102,500), dislocation ($97,100), electric shock ($55,000), being crushed ($54,600) and multiple traumas ($50,000) find their way on companies' books.

Of course, the average injury is still costly. Incidents of sprains and strains, for example, could set a business back a whopping $17,000. A fracture? $42,400. A case of inflammation? Another $24,500.

Injuries are more common to people with less experience on the job: more than a quarter of incidents or injuries happen to people who’ve been on the job for less than a year, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

As if the new guy wasn’t having a hard enough time already.

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