The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety has released its 2011 Workplace Safety Index, which identifies the leading causes of the most disabling U.S. workplace injuries (based on 2009 data). The “most disabling work-related injuries and
illnesses” are those causing an employee to lose six or more workdays. The Index provides direct cost information for these injuries.  As in previous years, overexertion tops the list. This includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, and throwing. This category of injury alone accounted for $12.75 billion in direct costs in 2009.

The top 10 causes of the most disabling workplace injuries in 2009 (in billions) according to Liberty Mutual are:

  1. Overexertion
  2. Fall on same level
  3. Fall to lower level
  4. Bodily reaction (injuries from bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling)
  5. Struck by object
  6. Highway incidents
  7. Caught in/compressed by
  8. Struck against object
  9. Repetitive motion
  10. Assaults/violent acts

Source: Scientific Update, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Vol. 14, No. 3, Winter 2011, p.p. 7-8.

To view the 2011 Index in its entirety, visit