Liberty Mutual has released its Workplace Safety Index for 2019, and the results may be of interest to workers in Pennsylvania, especially those in construction and other blue-collar industries. Every year, the index documents the top 10 causes of the most serious workplace injuries and ranks them according to their direct cost to employers.

Overexertion involving outside sources was to blame for nearly 24% of all serious workplace injuries, costing employers over $13 billion in medical and lost wage payments. This was followed by falls on the same level, which accounted for nearly 19% of injuries and cost employers nearly $10.4 billion. Third were incidents where employees were struck by equipment or other objects; this accounted for 9.4% of injuries and cost employers $5.2 billion.

Other causes included motor vehicle incidents, slips and trips without a fall, repetitive motions, and incidents where employees were caught in between or compressed by objects. The report also pinpoints eight industries with a high proportion of severe workplace injuries: manufacturing, healthcare, construction, professional services, retail, transportation and warehousing, wholesale, and leisure and hospitality.

In the construction industry, falls to a lower level were the number one cause of serious injuries followed by struck-by incidents. Falls from the same level were number one in the leisure and hospitality industry and in professional services.

It should be kept in mind that workers can also be injured through exposure to hazardous chemicals over the long term. Whatever the nature of their injury, employees can file for workers’ compensation benefits as long as their employer holds workers’ comp insurance. To be eligible, employees do not need to show that anyone’s negligence was behind the incident. However, employers still have the ability to deny claims, so victims may want a lawyer, especially for mounting an appeal.