Risk of workplace injuries higher among first-year employees

Did you know that the risk of workplace injuries is higher among first-year employees? A recent analysis of workers’ compensation claims by Travelers revealed that an employee’s first year on the job is often the most dangerous. Thirty-five percent of workplace injuries occurred during an employee’s first year. Thirty-seven percent of all workdays missed due to injury were taken by first-year employees. This obviously isn’t welcome news, but the resulting awareness is crucial to reversing this disturbing trend. Now, employers know to implement additional safety policies and procedures designed to reduce the risk of injury among first-year employees.

The first step to developing an effective safety program is to identify the most common causes of workplace injuries. According to Travelers’ analysis of more than 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims, the most common causes of first-year injuries were:

  • Overexertion (27%)
  • Slips, trips and falls (22%)
  • Struck by an object (14%)
  • Cuts and punctures (6%)
  • Caught-in or -between hazards (6%)
  • Motor vehicle accidents (6%)

The most common injuries suffered by first-year employees were:

  • Strains and sprains (38%)
  • Fractures (13%)
  • Contusions (95)
  • Cuts and puncture wounds (6%)
  • Inflammation (6%)
  • Dislocations (6%)

Though workplace injuries can and do happen anywhere and everywhere, the heightened risk of injury to first-year employees is more pronounced in specific industries. According to Travelers, the industries most affected by first-year injuries were:

  • Restaurants (53% of claims and 47% of claim costs)
  • Construction (48% of claims and 52% of claim costs)
  • Services (43% of claims and 38% of claim costs)
  • Transportation (39% of claims and 41% of claim costs)

Employers can do a number of things to reduce the risk of injury among first-year employees. Integrating safety into the hiring process, for example, makes employees aware of the risks and the organization’s emphasis on workplace safety. Employers can also perform a job-safety analysis or implement an accident analysis program to better understand the risks associated with specific jobs and tasks. The kinds of preventative measures may vary depending on the circumstances, but every workplace safety program must include regular safety training for all employees, beginning day one.

Workplace safety, for better or worse, begins at the top. Knowing how and why workplace injuries occur puts employers in a better position to prevent them. With an effective workplace safety program, employers can reduce the risk of workplace injuries and may even end up paying less for workers’ compensation insurance.

The Human Equation prepares all risk management and insurance content with the professional guidance of Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk.

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