More than a third of workplace injuries occur during employees’ first year on the job, regardless of age or industry experience, according to a new report from Travelers.
In fact, an employee’s time spent in a particular role is one of the driving factors in injury frequency, according to Travelers 2023 Injury Impact Report, which examined more than 1.2 million workers compensation claims from 2016 to 2020. The analysis found that employees in their first year on a job represented 34 percent of all claims and accounted for nearly 7 million missed workdays due to injury. First-year injuries also made up 34 percent of all workers compensation costs.
The study found that age also plays a significant role. Though they were injured less often than most other age groups, employees ages 60 and older had higher average costs per claim, totaling nearly 15 percent more than employees between the ages of 35 and 49 and approximately 140 percent more than those ages 18 to 24.
“The data clearly highlights two populations to watch when it comes to workplace injuries: new and aging employees,” said Rich Ives, vice president of Business Insurance Claim, Travelers. “As employers navigate turnover and a multigenerational workforce, it’s important that they stay aware of the risks that come with changing worker demographics so they can help keep employees safe and businesses running.”
Other highlights from the report include:
- Workers missed a total of 18.6 million workdays due to the reported injuries during the period studied.
- Strains and sprains were the most common injuries (38 percent), followed by fractures (13 percent), contusions (8 percent), inflammation (7 percent), and dislocations (7 percent). Though they were less common, dislocations led to the most missed days in this category (137 days), followed by fractures (89 days), inflammation (84 days), strains and sprains (53 days), and contusions (31 days).
- The most common causes of injury were overexertion (29 percent), slips, trips and falls (23 percent), being struck by an object (13 percent), motor vehicle accidents (5 percent), and being caught in or between objects (5 percent). Slips, trips and falls caused employees to miss an average of 83 workdays, followed by motor vehicle accidents (79 workdays), overexertion (71 workdays), and being struck by an object (67 workdays).
- Some of the most expensive injuries overall were much less frequent. Amputations were among the most expensive claims, costing nearly five times the average, followed by electric shock and multiple trauma injuries. Together, these injuries accounted for slightly more than 1 percent of claims.
Ives added, “After an injury, an employee’s road back to work can be difficult, and the longer they remain out, the harder it can be for them to return – especially if they’re dealing with a psychosocial barrier, such as fear or worry. That’s why a holistic approach to recovery is so critical, and why we recommend employers promptly file claims after an incident – so that injured workers can immediately receive the help they need.”
About the 2023 Injury Impact Report
Travelers analyzed more than 1.2 million workers compensation claims it received between 2016 and 2020 from a variety of industries and business sizes. Findings were based solely on indemnity claims, where the injured employees could not immediately return to work and incurred medical costs.