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Workplace injuries more common in older workers

Workers of any industry and age are at risk of injury in the workplace. However, older workers face a higher risk of injury or accidents because, as it is natural, many complications come with age, and these complications make older adults more vulnerable.

Complications include:

  • Hearing and visual impairment.
  • Reduced response times.
  • Balance problems.
  • Side effects or cross effects of medication.
  • Chronic muscle problems.
  • Chronic bone conditions such as arthritis.

As the baby boomer generation continues to work, the age of the average American worker has increased. According to the Census Bureau, among those over 65, the labor force participation rate has grown from a low 10.4% in 1985 to 20.3% today. Among those over 75 years of age, it has gone from 4% to 9.7%.

While employment programs can be an asset to employee health, older workers must take the initiative to ensure their own safety in the workplace. Proactive measures, such as annual medical exams and eye exams, can help address medical problems before they cause workplace injuries.

Employees should examine their own workplace to identify the ergonomic environment that best suits their physical needs. Better chair support, rests, increased lighting, safety equipment, and other measures can help prevent injuries. 

And finally, workers need to be aware of their surroundings and be honest with themselves about the changing skills that come with age. By taking these measures and having continuous communication with the human resources department, permanent or even fatal losses that devastate workers and their families can be avoided.

Logistical considerations may include: work slower and at your own pace; more breaks; less repetitive tasks; avoid static postures; better lighting; less glare; and adjustable seats.

Contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after any workplace accident to ensure you receive the fair compensation to which you are legally entitled.