Top 5 Causes of Workplace Injuries


More than one million employees in America miss work annually as a direct result of a workplace injury according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In their 2011 analysis of injuries, they found that the top five causes of injuries were:

1. Overexertion and repetitive motion (35%)

Workers in every industry experience this injury.  Those working in the transportation and warehousing industries had two times the rate of overexertion and repetitive motion injuries compared to other private industry workers.  Overexertion primarily came from lifting and lowering, contributing to 22% of all strains, sprains, and tears.

2. Falls, trips, and slips (25%)

Nearly all occupational groups experienced injuries from falls, trips, and slips.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics distinguishes among different kinds of lost footing: slips without falls, falls on the same level, and falls to a lower level. The most common injury in this category came from falls on the same level (61%).

3. Contact with Objects, Equipment (23%)

Most people injured in this way were struck by an object or piece of equipment (57%).  On average, this type of injury took five days of recovery.  This category of equipment–related injuries included being crushed against machinery, caught in machinery, or compressed by machinery.

4. Violence from People and Animals (6%)

Of the injuries attributed to personal violence from people or animals, 86% are due to people in 2011.  A little under half of these person-on-person crimes were intentional.  The rest were either unintentional or the intention was unclear.  The majority of those experiencing this type of workplace injury work in law enforcement.

5. Transportation Accidents (5%)

Approximately 5% of workplace injuries that require days off involved some form of transportation.  Transportation includes boats and airplanes. The majority of these happened on the road and involved motorized vehicles.

Source: “Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away from Work, 2011,” Bureau of Labor Statistics,

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