What Older Workers Should Keep in Mind about Job Safety and Workers’ Compensation

injury to hand or wrist

Like many people, you have probably heard that the American workforce is aging. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS) projects that, by 2024, the nation’s labor force of 164 million people will include 41 million workers aged 55 and older.

However, with age comes increased injury rates, impacting medical costs. Not only do older employees get hurt more often at work, but they typically need more days off to recover. Their injuries also tend to be more severe. No matter how old you are, it is important to learn how age affects workplace injury. You can also take steps to reduce your risk.

Older Workers and Workplace Injuries

Until about 15 years ago, researchers maintained that younger employees had a higher injury frequency. However, between 2015-2019, rates for workers 25-44 years of age experienced a decline. In contrast, injuries among workers 65 years and older increased by 14%.

Not only do employees differ by age in injury frequency. They also tend to suffer different types of injuries. While younger workers typically have more contact injuries, their older peers suffer more slips, trips, and falls.

Finally, older employees generally need more days away from work because their injuries tend to be more severe. The BLS reports that workers aged 65 and older miss a median of 17 days of work because of slips, trips, and falls. They also miss a median of 20 days due to overexertion.

How Older Workers Can Stay Safe

Knowing the workplace hazards that pose heightened risks to older workers is advantageous to your safety. According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), employees can watch for common problems on the job site and take steps to stay safe:

Back pain. Older workers often suffer strain in their lower backs. Use care when lifting items to help reduce these injuries. Remember to lift with your knees and avoid raising objects above your head.

Falls. Whether due to a loss of balance or reduced reaction time, trips, slips, and falls are concerns for people over 55, especially those with osteoporosis. You can reduce your risk by using handrails when going up and down stairs. Avoid walkways or floors that could cause trips.

Lighting. If possible, ensure you have adequate lighting in your work area. Older workers should use caution in areas with dim lighting or glare from indirect light. When in darker spaces, give your vision enough time to adjust.

If you suffer a work-related injury and are over 55, you have the right to compensation, no matter how high your medical costs are. If you are looking for attorneys nearby who practice in workers’ compensation, Contact Clements, Taylor, Butkovich & Cohen LPA, Co. if you need help getting proper compensation for your injury and any ongoing conditions.