Think you don’t have the time or the need to think about injury prevention at your company? If you want to keep more of your hard-earned revenue (as in $2 million), think again.
Workplace injuries and illnesses cost U.S. businesses over $170 billion per year.1 Of these, over 30% are due to musculoskeletal disorders, accumulated injuries to the joints, soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels of the body.
MSDs can be a serious problem because they often develop insidiously, worsening quietly over time until sudden or unexpected stress to the body causes the problem to surface. At that point, a hurting employee is now an injured one – not only costing the company in hefty workers’ compensation claims, but also missing work days due to disability and medical appointments. And when productivity suffers, so do profits.
Here are five common MSDs that can cut into your company’s profitability. Using OSHA’s Safety Pays website, sample injury costs are used to calculate the sales that would be necessary to cover those medical bills, assuming a 3% profit margin.
Sprains are injuries to the ligaments and connective tissues that hold joints together. Joint sprains commonly occur in the shoulder, knee, spine, and ankles.
- Direct Costs: $30,798
- Indirect Costs: $33, 877
- Total Costs: $64,675
- Sales to cover indirect costs: $1,129,260
- Sales to cover total costs: $2,155,833
2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
CTS describes a cluster of symptoms associated with a compressed nerve at the wrist, such as hand pain, numbness/tingling, and grip weakness.
- Direct Costs: $30,882
- Indirect Costs: $33,970
- Total Costs: $64,852
- Sales to cover indirect costs: $1,132,340
- Sales to cover total costs: $2,161.733
Strains are injuries to muscles and their connective tissues. Strains are common in the shoulder and upper back, hip flexors, hamstrings, and calf muscles.
- Direct Costs: $32,959
- Indirect Costs: $36,254
- Total Costs: $69,213
- Sales to cover indirect costs: $1,208,496
- Sales to cover total costs: $2,307,100
4. Cumulative Injury
Cumulative injuries involve repeated or sustained stress to a muscle-joint system. Early-onset arthritis and degenerative conditions associated with abnormal wear and tear are also categorized here. The neck, low back, shoulder, and knee are common sites for these injuries.
- Direct Costs: $40,596
- Indirect Costs: $44,655
- Total Costs: $85,251
- Sales to cover indirect costs: $1,488,520
- Sales to cover total costs: $2,841,700
5. Multiple Physical Injuries
Multiple injuries can occur at once due to an accident but commonly occur as a series of events over time. For example, a sprained shoulder that resulted in weakened shoulder muscles leads to a biceps or arm muscle tear with repeated use. Or, a sprained ankle resulting in weakness and poor balance causes problems up the body chain, such as knee tendinitis or low back pain.
- Direct Costs: $76,563
- Indirect Costs: $84,219
- Total Costs: $160,782
- Sales to cover indirect costs: $2,807,310
- Sales to cover total costs: $5,359,400
There is good news: the majority of MSDs are preventable. And avoiding one problem (such as a sprained ankle) can halt the development of more costly cumulative or multi-injury conditions, such as early-onset arthritis and low back pain. Injury prevention isn’t just a good idea; when companies prevent MSDs they can save much more.
Would you like to cut your workplace medical costs? We can help. Schedule a call today.
1. Estimated costs of occupational injuries and illnesses and estimated impact on a company’s profitability worksheet. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. U.S. Department of Labor. 2019.