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The Travelers Companies, the country’s largest workers compensation insurer, just released its 2022 Injury Impact Report. The study analyzed more than 1.5 million workers compensation claims over a five-year period (2015-2019) and revealed that 35% of injuries occur during employees’ first year on the job, regardless of age or industry experience.

Travelers analyzed more than 1.5 million workers compensation claims it received between 2015 and 2019 from a variety of industries and business sizes. Findings were based solely on indemnity claims, where the injured employees could not immediately return to work and incurred medical costs. This is the second analysis of its kind conducted by the company. The first was in 2016 and included data between 2010 and 2014.

The study provided insights in a number of areas related to first-year injury claims.

The most common causes of first-year injuries were overexertion (27% of claims); 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 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 (98) due to an injury, followed by employees in transportation (88) and those in services (69), 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 (61) and being struck by an object (59).

“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 Chris Hayes, Assistant Vice President, Travelers Risk Control – Workers Compensation and Transportation. “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.”