More and more, early retirement is a thing of the past. The number of older people in the workforce has increased in the last decade. Workers aged 55 and older accounted for 19% of the U.S. workforce in 2009 compared to 12 percent in 2003. They comprise the fastest-growing segment of the working population according to federal officials.
This means that work related injuries among older workers will continue to rise. Although these workers do not have an increased risk of injury overall compared to younger workers, they are at a higher risk of suffering more serious injuries. Fractures and hip injuries are seen more commonly in older workers for falls from stairs, ladders and heights. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, in 2009 of all the nonfatal injuries that resulted in lost work days, 210,830 of the injuries, or 17%, occurred among older workers.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control is keenly aware of the increased risk of more serious injuries to elderly workers. "There is an urgent need for us to look at the safety and health needs of older workers, because they are growing. Employers and others should take steps to help protect the older worker," said Dawn N. Castillo of CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. But since the rate of falls, fractures and hip injuries are higher among older workers, "this points to the need of employers to be aware of these risks and take steps to improve safety of the older workforce," she said.
Castillo made these comments in relation to April 29, 2011 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Improving safety for older workers will also improve safety for all workers, Castillo said. Employers can help reduce injuries by removing tripping hazards and installing slip-resistant floors. These and other measures may help reduce injuries and stem the rising tide of injuries among older workers, she said.
Proper safety measures and safety programs are essential to protect all workers from injuries. Unfortunately, not all work places are safe environments. A work accident may have occurred because of a defective piece of equipment, a dangerous condition on the property or a safety violation.
If you believe that you or a family member may have been injured at work due to an unsafe or dangerous condition, it is strongly recommended that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Author: Thomas Sheridan is a personal injury lawwyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.