The Travelers Companies, Inc., a large workers’ compensation insurance provider, recently analyzed over 1.5 million workers’ comp claims originating between 2015 and 2019 and involving people who could not immediately return to work. The idea was to catch trends and determine which industries might be contributing more than their share of workplace injuries.
Interestingly, the study found that people are most likely to be injured during their first year in a given position, regardless of the person’s age or the industry they work in. In fact, 35% of all the workplace injuries studied occurred in a person’s first year on the job.
“Our data underscores the importance of comprehensive onboarding and training programs for employees, particularly as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and see many workers starting new jobs,” said a spokesperson from Travelers. “While new employees are among the most vulnerable, many injuries sustained by employees of any tenure can often be prevented if the proper safety measures are in place.”
What kinds of injuries are newer workers experiencing?
According to Travelers, the most common injuries among first-year workers included:
- Overexertion (27% of claims)
- Slips, trips and falls (22% of claims)
- Being struck by an object (14% of claims)
- Being caught in or between objects (6% of claims)
- Cuts and punctures (6% of claims)
- Work-related motor vehicle accidents (6% of claims)
Major claims made up 8% of total claims but fully 26% of costs. Those include things like multiple traumas, dislocations, amputations and electric shocks.
The types of injuries that resulted in the longest time away from work were dislocation and inflammation injuries, strains and falls, work-related motor vehicle accidents and being struck by an object.
It might surprise you to know that the restaurant industry was the one that saw the most injuries among first-year employees: 53%. Restaurants were followed by construction, which saw nearly half of all claims among those in their first year on the job.
Regardless of the statistics, your work injury is probably covered by workers’ comp
It’s important to realize that most injuries that are work-related are indeed covered by workers’ compensation insurance. It may sound like first-year employees are riskier than others. It may sound like lack of proper training or onboarding plays a role.
The fact is that fault has little to do with workers’ comp claims. You don’t have to prove your employer was at fault; just that the injury or illness was job-related. Likewise, your employer can’t refuse to cover you simply because you are at a greater risk for injuries than others.
If you have trouble with a denied workers’ comp claim, a lawyer may be able to help you appeal the denial.