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Workplace injuries on the rise for older workers

The workforce is aging. Older workers are choosing to keep working past retirement age, often out of financial necessity. Unfortunately, statistics show that older workers also face higher numbers of workplace injuries and workplace fatalities. Workers in California may be interested to learn about some of the risks for older workers on the job.

Older workers commonly experience physical changes associated with aging. Those changes include failing senses, weakening muscles and orthopedic problems. These issues, combined with sometimes less than optimal workplace safeguards, can lead to higher numbers of injuries. Approximately 35 percent of fatal work accidents involved a senior worker in the year 2015. With numbers of senior workers on the rise and predicted to continue, on-the-job injuries for older workers will remain a concern. 

One category that continues to be a source for high numbers of workplace fatalities is transportation accidents. One 58-year-old man died from injuries suffered when a forklift fell on him after it rolled off of a ramp. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health did fine his employer for violations related to forklift safety. In 2015, the rate of fatal accidents for older workers was 60 percent greater than the rate for all workers. 

Workplace injuries are a serious concern for all workers, not just older workers. In California, if a worker is hurt on the job, he or she is entitled to workers' compensation benefits while unable to work. In the event of a fatal accident, a worker's dependents may be eligible for benefits also. A lawyer can be an important tool to ensure proper filing of any insurance claims. 

Source: journalgazette.com, "Older workers face risk", Maria Ines Zamudio and Michelle Minkoff, Aug. 7, 2017

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