Top Work-Related Injury Causes

The top three leading causes of work-related injuries – overexertion and bodily reaction, contact with objects and equipment, and slips, trips and falls – account for more than 85% of all nonfatal injuries involving days away from work.

Overexertion and bodily reaction includes:

    • Non-impact injuries: Result from excessive physical effort directed at an outside source; common activities include lifting, pushing, turning, holding, carrying or throwing
    • Repetitive motion: Microtasks resulting in stress or strain on some part of the body due to the repetitive nature of the task, typically without strenuous effort such as heavy lifting


Contact with objects and equipment, including:

    • A moving object striking a worker
    • A worker striking against an object or equipment, including bumping into, stepping on, kicking or being pushed or thrown onto an object
    • A part of a worker’s body being squeezed, pinched, compressed or crushed in equipment, between shifting objects, between stationary objects or in a wire or rope
    • A worker being struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment or material
    • A worker being injured as a result of friction or pressure between the person and the source of injury
    • A worker being injured from vibration


Slips, trips and falls include the following types of events:

    • Slips and trips without falling; injuries occurring when a worker catches himself or herself from falling due to slip or trip
    • Falling on the same level; includes tripping, slipping, falling while sitting, and falling onto or against object on the same level
    • Falling to a lower level; includes falling from a collapsing structure, falling through surfaces, and falling from ladders, roofs, scaffolding or other structures
    • Jumping to a lower level, which is different from falls because they are controlled and voluntary

This infographic provides a summary of the eight leading nonfatal work-related injuries involving days away from work in 2017. Please visit the data details tab for additional information on both nonfatal and fatal injury events.

See data details