Report: New Employees Most Vulnerable to Workplace Injuries

HR & Safety

Workers who are in their first year on the job continue to represent more than one-third of workplace injuries, according to a new report from Travelers. 

Travelers released its 2023 Injury Impact Report earlier this month. The report analyzed more than 1.2 million workers’ compensation claims over a five-year period. 

Researchers said 34% of workplace injuries occurred during an employee’s first year on the job, resulting in almost seven million missed workdays. 

Last year, Travelers 2022 Injury Impact Report found 35% of workplace injuries occurred during a worker’s first year on the job. 

Changing Demographics

The study found that age also plays a role in workplace injuries. Workers ages 35 to 49 had the highest percentage of injuries compared to other groups. 

Workers ages 25 to 34 and 50 to 59 saw similar percentages of injuries, with the older employees seeing slightly more injuries. 

Travelers injury impact report 2023
Source: 2023 Travelers Injury Impact Report

While they were injured less often than other age groups, employees ages 60 and older had higher average costs per claim, totaling nearly 15% more than employees between the ages of 35 and 49 and approximately 140% more than those ages 18 to 24.

“The data clearly highlights two populations to watch when it comes to workplace injuries: new and aging employees,” Travelers vice president of business insurance claims Rich Ives said.

“As employers navigate turnover and a multigenerational workforce, it’s important that they stay aware of the risks that come with changing worker demographics so they can help keep employees safe and businesses running.”

Industry Breakdowns

Across the industries researchers analyzed, construction had the highest average number of lost workdays per injury, averaging 99 days, compared to 66 average lost workdays per injury in manufacturing. 

Overexertion, which includes strains or injuries resulting from twisting, reaching, lifting, jumping, or wielding, accounted for 29% of all injuries. 

It was the most common cause of injury in both the manufacturing and wholesale industries. 

Average lost workday by industry
Source: 2023 Travelers Injury Impact Report

Construction and small business saw the most injuries related to slips, trips, and falls. These types of injuries left employees out of work for an average of 83 days. 

Less frequent in most industries, dislocations were the costliest of the most common injuries. 

Dislocation injuries totaled almost three times the average cost per claim.

Prioritize Safety

Travelers researchers said it is important to understand what causes may be leading to injuries and implementing processes and training programs to put in place. 

At CBIA’s 2023 Safety & Health Conference safety consultants said they are often seeing that there needs to be more of an understanding of safety expectations and protocols across the board. 

GZA Environmental EHS Project Manager Christopher Mayne said with a lot of movement at companies and new employees, safety basics can be overlooked.

“It doesn’t matter the size of the companies, there seems to be a lack of basic safety understanding.” 

GZA Environmental’s Christopher Mayne

“It doesn’t matter the size of the companies, there seems to be a lack of basic safety understanding,” Mayne said. 

He said companies will give them some training to get them started, but he sees a lack of supervision and follow up. 

Safety Priority Consultants president Chip Darius said there should be systems, methods, and processing in place and an open level of communication so employees can voice concerns or suggestions. 

“Safety should not be something that we do. Safety should be the way we do things,” Darius said. 


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