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An Aging Workforce

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Safety + Health Magazine – 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, one quarter of all workers will be 55 or older by the year 2022.

BLS data shows that workers 65 and older experience the lowest rate of injury out of all age groups. With experience comes knowledge, and this results in a decreased likelihood of risky behavior. However, the injuries in the older age groups have a higher average degree of severity.

Older workers bring with them a wealth of knowledge from their years of experience. But they also bring increased risk of on-the-job fatalities and severe injuries.

Employees 45 and older experience double the rate of slips, trips and falls and take longer to recover from injuries than their peers.  The increased severity of injury translates directly into higher workers’ compensation costs for the company. Furthermore, the number of workers 65 and older that have died on the job has risen from 580 in 2008 to 656 in 2014. During that same period, all other age groups saw their fatality rates drop.

With this trend in mind, companies should begin looking at ways to prepare their workforce and refine their safety programs. NOISH has established the National Center for Productive Aging and Work to research best practices for the workplace in order to find solutions to the new safety risks involved with an older workforce. Considering accommodations is perhaps the best way to go to ease any potential for injury. Shifting older workers away from high-hazard jobs, or simply letting them go can be seen as age discrimination in the workplace, so tread carefully to avoid any potential disputes. Keep in mind that safety improvements and accommodations to protect older workers typically benefit workers of all ages.

If you have questions, concerns, or are in need of consultation on any issues regarding accommodations feel free to contact The Integrated Group. You can reach us at 425-822-8500 or at info@theintegratedgroup.com

 

 

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