An Ounce Of Prevention May Lower Workers' Comp Costs

Compiled By Michael A. Verespej Each work site is different. But manufacturers might be well served to address the top-10 list of workplace injuries and illnesses that contribute to workers' compensation costs, as compiled by the Liberty Mutual Group of Boston. Indeed, the 10 injuries accounted for 86% of all workers' compensation costs in 1998, the most recent year for which data are available. The two biggest culprits: overexertion -- that is, excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or tossing an object -- and falls or bodily-reaction injuries caused by bending, climbing, or loss of balance when a fall doesn't occur. Overexertion accounted for 25.6% of all workers' compensation costs, and falls and bodily-reaction injuries accounted for 30.1% of all workers' compensation costs. To reduce overexertion injuries, the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index advises manufacturers to evaluate work flows to remove excessive reaching, bending, pushing, pulling, lifting, loading, or unloading. Also, the use of mechanical lifting aids and job redesign to allow sufficient rest will help.

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