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New employees account for more than a third of workplace injuries

Thirty-five percent of workplace injuries occur during a worker’s first year on the job, regardless of age or experience, according to a report released Monday by Travelers Cos. Inc.

The Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer analyzed more than 1.5 million workers compensation claims over a five-year period (2015-2019).

Some of the most common causes of injuries in the first year included overexertion, representing 27% of claims; following were slips, trips and falls (22%); being struck by an object (14%); cuts and punctures (6%); being caught in or between objects (6%); and motor vehicle accidents (6%).

The most common injuries included strains and sprains at 38% of claims; other common injuries included fractures (13%) and contusions (9%). The most expensive claims, accounting for just 8% of total claims but 26% of total claim costs, were amputations, multiple traumas, electric shock and dislocations.

The restaurant industry experienced the most claims from first-year employees, with 53% of the claims involving the newest workers and representing 47% of total claim costs. The construction industry was a close second, with nearly half of all claims coming from those who were new to the job, driving 52% of the industry’s claim costs.

First-year injuries led to more than 6 million lost workdays over the five-year period studied, representing 37% of all lost days. Among all worker injuries over the same period, construction workers on average missed the most workdays due to an injury, followed by employees in transportation and those in services, which includes businesses such as legal, engineering and accounting firms.

Dislocation and inflammation injuries resulted in the most time away from work on average, at 132 and 82 workdays, respectively. Strains and falls both caused workers to miss an average of 69 workdays, followed by motor vehicle accidents and being struck by an object.

This article was first published in Business Insurance.

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