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Liberty Mutual names overexertion top cause of workplace injury

Workers in New Jersey may be interested in recent findings about workplace injuries and their causes. According to Liberty Mutual, the number one cause of disabling workplace injury is overexertion involving outside sources. Same-level falls, lower level falls and being struck by equipment or objects were also included in the top five causes of disabling injury in Liberty Mutual's 2016 Workplace Safety Index.

Data from 2013 was used for the 2016 index. Overexertion injuries and the other injuries in the top five accounted for nearly 65 percent of the national cost burden for injuries. Other types of injuries that made the top 10 include incidents involving a motorized vehicle, slipping without falling, being caught in, struck by or compressed by an object or equipment and repetitive motion injuries.

Musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 32 percent of 2014's injury and illness cases, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most musculoskeletal disorder cases involved laborers, movers and nursing assistants. The direct cost of overexertion injuries alone was $15.08 billion for businesses in 2013. The incidence of musculoskeletal disorders was down slightly in 2014, at 33.8 in 10,000 workers from 35.8 in 2013.

An injury caused by overexertion may seem to be the fault of the worker, but under workers' compensation law, a worker who was injured on the site of the job is in most cases covered even if the injury was his or her own fault. Employees may fight workers' compensation claims or make settlement offers that are lower than what a worker may actually be entitled to. An injured worker may be faced with confusion about the complex workers' compensation laws, and might decide to request the help of a lawyer who has experience with these matters.

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