From the largest writer of workers comp in the state of Texas they analyzed their claims data from last year, and identified injury trends such as motor vehicle accidents, construction industry incidents and employee training, as the largest are of opportunity for employers to build a safer workplace. For businesses, 2021 continued the era of learning to operate within the COVID-19 pandemic, including controlling pre-existing hazards, making adjustments to keep up with demand, and following state and local regulations.
The chart below shows a breakdown of serious reported claims by industry.
Overall, the number of serious claims reported remained consistent with the previous year but were significantly lower than claim totals before the pandemic. Here are a few takeaways:
- The construction industry has remained one of the busiest throughout the pandemic and remained at the top of the list, accounting for 5% more of the total claims reported as compared to 2020.
- Administrative, support, waste management and remediation services had the second highest number of serious claims, surpassing manufacturing from the previous year.
- The mining industry accounted for about 4% less of the total serious claims reported compared to 2020.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
From 2020 to 2021, driving surpassed slips, trips and falls as the number one cause of injury among reported serious claims. Across the state of Texas, roadway fatalities continued to increase despite less miles being driven. Speed, distracted driving and driving under the influence remain common deadly behaviors.
- Struck-by. Utilize defensive driving techniques to help avoid being struck by other drivers. Constantly scan the roadway for potential hazards and slow down or change lanes as necessary.
- Loss of control. Speeding is one of the primary ways to lose control of your vehicle. Stay within the speed limit and slow down around curves or when visibility is low.
- Passengers. As a vehicle passenger, speak up if you notice the driver showing signs of fatigue or inattentiveness.
Taking a deeper look at the construction industry’s serious claims, three specific types of businesses reported the most:
- Plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractors
- Highway, street and bridge construction businesses
- Roofing contractors
The majority of claims were a result of slips, trips or falls. Other common causes included driving and caught in/under/between.
- Perform an inspection of the area before work begins to ensure that all hazards are controlled.
- Ensure that fall protection is in place any time you’re positioned 6 feet or more above a lower level.
- While operating a motor vehicle, stay within posted speed limits, wear a safety belt and stay focused on the road.
- Follow lockout/tagout procedures to ensure the equipment you’re performing maintenance on isn’t energized.
It’s no surprise that employees on the job for less than six months reported more serious claims than any other tenured group. Safety data consistently shows the importance of a strong hiring process and new employee orientation program. However, training needs don’t stop there. Employees on the job for between two and six years reported the second highest number of serious claims, showing that retraining needs don’t fall too far behind.
- As a new employee, direct your questions to supervisors or tenured employees instead of other new employees.
- Take training seriously and ask questions if you don’t fully understand the topic.
- Stay open to new methods and understand that hazards, controls and procedures will change over time.
- If you’re given the opportunity, participate in or help lead trainings to further solidify your understanding of the subject.