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Older workers are at greater risk of fatal injuries

The federal government has been keeping statistics on workplace deaths for some time now, and there's good new and bad news.

The good news is that workplace deaths are generally declining. Over the last nine years, the chance of dying on the job has dropped about 22 percent. The bad news is that this statistic doesn't apply to everyone. If you happen to 55 years of age or older, your risk of dying on the job has actually increased by as much as 65 percent.

Why the discrepancy? There are probably a number of factors. For instance:

  • More people are working past their traditional retirement age of 62 to 65, which means that there are more workers in that age bracket than before. There has been a 6 percent increase in the general workforce -- but a 37 percent increase in older employees during the same period.
  • Older workers may have physical limitations that put them more at risk for an accident. Hearing loss, for example, could prevent them from hearing a warning that a forklift was headed their way.
  • Some older workers may be complacent about safety. Familiarity with the job should make people more conscious about safety, not less. However, sometimes that same familiarity can cause someone to relax when they should be alert.
  • Older workers may be more likely to suffer problems with things like heat stroke or stress-related injuries, like a heart attack. Age and physical fitness are two factors that can contribute to the problem.
  • Older workers may not be as conscious of current safety regulations. Sometimes employers skip over the older employees when giving important safety training lectures because they figure the older worker has already heard it all. The reality may be that there are new types of safety standards the older worker isn't familiar with and doesn't think to use.

If you're a surviving family member of a worker who was killed while on the job, and you're having trouble collecting what you are due, it's time to get a workers' compensation attorney's help. For more information about what how our firm might be able to help you, please visit our page.

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