The American workforce is growing older. Today, many employees work well beyond the traditional retirement age of 65. According to the U.S. Government, by 2024, approximately 25 percent of the workforce will be older workers. These employees offer experience, maturity, and in many cases a thorough knowledge of the job. Conversely, the aging process can cause hearing and vision impairment, delayed response times, balance issues, bone density issues, and other chronic medical issues like arthritis. This can put older workers at an increased risk for serious, even fatal injuries.
Statistics of Injuries Involving Older Workers
The following statistics provide a general idea of how age has impacted workplace injuries and fatalities:
According to the Associated Press (AP), older workers suffer fatal injuries at work at a higher rate than workers overall.
In 2015, approximately 35 percent of workplace fatalities involved workers who were 55 and older. This accounted for 1,681 of the 4,836 fatalities nationwide.
While the workplace fatality rate for all workers decreased by 22 percent between 2006 and 2015, the rate of fatal accidents among older workers was 50 to 65 percent higher than for other workers.
The total number of employee fatalities decreased from 5,480 in 2005 to 4,836 in 2015, whereas work-related fatalities among older workers rose from 1,562 to 1,681 during the same period of time.
The AP reported the following accident data for older workers from 2011 to 2015:
Fatal falls increased by 20 percent
Accidents involving contact with heavy objects and equipment increased by 17 percent
Transportation accidents increased by 15 percent
Fires and explosions decreased by 8 percent
The states that had the greatest percent increase in fatal workplace accidents rates among older workers included Nevada, New Jersey, and Washington. The states that had the largest decrease in workplace fatalities in older workers included Hawaii, Oregon, and Vermont.
There are some who believe that assuming all older workers are at risk for injuries is unfair, and can lead to discrimination. The co-director of Columbia University’s Aging Center commented that older employees have a wide range of physical and emotional abilities that make them valuable members of the workforce. The co-director also added that more needs to be done in this country for all workers to ensure a safe work environment.
The National Center for Productive Aging and Work, which operates under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is recommending that appropriate changes be made to make the workplace safer for older workers. Keeping aware of America’s changing demographics can help employers keep their workers safe.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Older Workers
If you or a loved one is an older worker who has been seriously, or fatally injured while on the job, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will thoroughly explain the benefits to which you and your family are entitled and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. We will address all your questions and concerns in detail and help you navigate the claims process. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.