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Death rate for workplace accidents highest for older workers

People of all ages work in Boston, Massachusetts. Some of them have workplace accidents. What some people may not know is that older workers have a higher accident death rate than younger workers do. This holds proportionately true even when there is a decrease in the overall incidence of workplace fatalities, according to .the Associated Press' review of federal statistics. When an older worker is hurt on the job, there may be cause for a workers' compensation claim.

The trend correlates with many baby boomers rejecting the recommendation that they retire at age 65. Some continue working into their late 60s and beyond out of financial need, while others do so out of an affinity for their work. By 2024, according to the United States government, older workers will account for an estimated 25 percent of the U.S. labor market.

Due to physical changes that are associated with aging, workplace accidents are particularly likely to result in severe injuries for older workers, and older workers are less able to heal from the injuries they suffer. This increases the likelihood that workplace injuries will prove fatal when they happen to older workers.

Additionally, changes with aging can make workplace accidents more likely to happen to older workers in the first place. For example, older workers may have vision problems that prevent them from clearly seeing hazards at their workplace until it is too late to protect themselves. They also tend to have slower reflexes than their younger counterparts, so if a piece of equipment or other heavy object endangers them, they are less able to get out of the way before being injured.

Of course, there are older workers who have both great vision and reflexes; however, these are things that can play into their high rate of workplace accidents. To protect themselves, older workers, like younger ones, should be very aware of their workplace situations and the dangers to avoid.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Workplace accident death rate higher for older workers," Maria Ines Zamudio and Michelle Minkoff, Associated Press, Aug. 06, 2017

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