The Seven Most Common, High Cost Injuries

in Washington State 1998-2002

And in what industries they occurred
Dept. of Labor & Industries Workers’ Compensation Claims Data Analysis

Source: Prioritizing Industries for Occupational Injury and Illness Prevention, Dept. of Labor & Industries – SHARP Technical Report # 64-1-2005 March, 2005

Summary
Between 1998-2002, Washington state workers filed 166,722 compensable injury claims with the Department of Labor & Industries (L & I). Seven common, high cost injury types were identified in these claims:
Caught in/under/between Falls from elevation Falls at same level Struck By/against

Motor vehicle accidents
Musculoskeletal disorders of the lower extremities Musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, back and upper extremities

Summary

(continued)

These seven injury types accounted for:
- 91.6% of all compensable claims,
- 94.7% of compensable claim costs, - 95.5% of all compensable time-loss days (days off work)

These claims cost an estimated $3.9 billion in paid benefits and resulted in 24.3 million days off work during the 5 years studied.

What are “compensable” claims?
Compensable claims are worker claims for serious injuries that result in time off from work for medical treatment and recovery. Compensable claim payments include medical bills, compensation for days off work and disability payments. Claims involving simple medical treatment for minor injuries with no days off work are not included.

Compensable claims account for 92.1% of all claims costs paid by the worker compensation system.

What is a “caught in/under/between” injury? An injury produced by squeezing, pinching or crushing a part of the body between a moving or stationary object, between two moving objects or between parts of an object.
Examples: hand caught in a rotating part of a machine

finger amputated by a rotating saw blade
Toes crushed by wheels of a moving vehicle Worker pulled into an auger

What is a “fall from elevation” injury?
An injury from a fall from one level to a lower level or an impact against an object that is lower than the level the person is standing on.
Examples: fall from a roof fall from a ladder fall from a truck, tractor or construction vehicle fall from a scaffold

fall off a raised deck or platform
fall off a loading dock

What is a “fall from same level” injury?
An injury resulting from falling over to the same level as the working surface or falling into or against an object at the same level.
Examples: tripping over a cord or clutter on the floor

losing balance while carrying a heavy object
falling against a sharp object Slipping on a wet floor

What is a “struck by/against” injury?
“Struck against” is an injury from impacting objects during movement, such as bumping into objects, stepping on objects, or being pushed or thrown against objects. Does not include falls.
Examples: bumping head on overhead beam hand slips off hand tool accidentally touching a hot pipe

“Struck by” is an injury resulting from a falling or flying object, or being struck by another person.
Examples: object falling off a platform onto a worker
grinding dust in eye noise exposure (noise “strikes” eardrum)

kicked by patient in a mental hospital

What is a “motor vehicle” injury?

Injuries from motor vehicle accidents, including collisions, rollovers and sideswipes. The injured person can be the driver or a passenger, but does not include accidents as passengers on public transportation.

What is a “musculoskeletal disorder of the lower extremity”?
Injuries to the legs, knees, ankles, foot from overexertion, prolonged kneeling, or other bodily motion.
(These do not include impact injuries to the lower extremities.)

What is a” musculoskeletal disorder of the neck, back & upper extremities”? Injuries to the neck, back, arms, wrists or hands due to overexertion, repetitive motion, lifting, pulling pushing or carrying objects, or excessive vibration.
Examples:
back injuries – sciatica, disc problems, low back pain shoulder injuries – rotator cuff damage elbow injuries – epicondylitis carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger hand/wrist tendinitis

Industries Where Compensable Injuries Occur
Industries are classified by North American Industrial Classification system (NAICS) into industry groups which describes the businesses by the type of commerce they do. Examples are logging, general freight trucking, residential building construction, and foundation, structure & building exterior contractors.

Industries which have either a large number of claims or a high rate of claims (#of claims per 100 employees) or both, have been ranked by a “Prevention Index”.

What is the “Prevention Index”?
It is the average of an industry’s ranking in the number of claims and the claims rate*. The more the claims and the higher the claims rate, the lower the prevention index number. In other words, an industry with a very low prevention index number will have a large number and a high rate of compensable claims.
*claims rate - the number of injury claims per 10,000 employees

Top 5 NAICS industries for “caught in/under/between” injury claims Rating by Prevention Index
1. Other Wood Product Manufacturing
2. Logging

3. Converted Paper Product Mfg.
4. Cattle Ranching & Farming

5. Architectural & Structural Metals Mfg.
For a description of these industries, click here.

Top 5 NAICs industries with “fall from elevation” injury claims Rating by Prevention Index
1. Foundation, Structure & Building Exterior Contractors
2. Building Finishing Contractors

3. Residential Building Construction
4. Fruit & Nut Tree Farming

5. Logging
For a description of these industries, click here.

Top 5 industries with “falls at same level” injury claims Rating by Prevention Index
1. Logging
2. Foundation, Structure & Building Exterior Contractors

3. General Freight Trucking
4. Building Finishing Contractors

5. Limited Service Eating Places
For a description of these industries, click here.

Top 5 industries with “struck by/against” injury claims Rating by Prevention Index
1. Foundation, Structure & Building Exterior Contractors 2. Logging 3. Residential Building Construction 4. Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals 5. Other Wood Product Mfg.
For a description of these industries, click here.

Top 5 industries with “motor vehicle” injury claims Rating by Prevention Index
1. General Freight Trucking
2. Specialized Freight Trucking

3. Couriers
4. Logging

5. Local Messengers & Local Delivery
For a description of these industries, click here.

Top 5 industries with “lower extremities musculoskeletal disorder” claims Rating by Prevention Index
1. Building Finishing Contractors 2. Foundation, Structure & Building Exterior Contractors

3. Residential Building Contractors
4. General Freight Trucking 5. Logging
For a description of these industries, click here.

Top 5 industries with “neck, back & upper extremities musculoskeletal disorder” claims Rating by Prevention Index
1. Foundation, Structure & Building Exterior Contractors
2. Building Finishing Contractors

3. Nursing Care Facilities
4. Community Care for the Elderly

5. Residential Building Construction
For a description of these industries, click here.

Some Conclusions
This review of worker compensation claims filed in Washington state showed that the seven most serious injuries occurred most frequently in logging and building construction. These injuries are reflected in the higher premiums paid by employers in these categories - $2.50 to $8.00 per hour per employee. Taking injury prevention measures would reduce both worker pain and suffering and industrial insurance costs for employers in these industries.

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