According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 25 percent of the workforce is expected to be age 55 or older by 2022. The changing face of the working demographic in Maryland and around the country is largely because baby boomers are choosing to remain in the workforce for longer periods than the generation before them.
The BLS reports that workers who are older experience fewer on-the-job injuries. Data from 2014 showed that older workers – those 65 or older – had an injury rate of 94.2 per 10,000 full-time employees, the lowest rate of all age groups. Overall, the injury rate for workers was 107.1 per 10,000.
Researchers indicate the reason for the lower overall injury rate for older workers is because they are more mature than are younger workers. This means that they avoid risks and are more likely to point out hazards to supervisors. The researchers did find that one category of injury type showed rates of injury for which older workers had approximately twice the rate of injury, however. They are much more likely to be injured in slips and falls than are younger workers. This has been attributed to deteriorating balance and vision that older workers have. When they are injured, they are more likely to have longer recovery periods and to experience injuries that are more severe than those of younger workers.
Many workplace accidents are preventable. If younger workers took the time to look for hazards and then to point them out to supervisors, fewer accidents overall would be likely to occur. Employers should take the time to identify all potential hazards in their workplaces. They should then take steps to correct those hazards in order to prevent injuries. However, not all on-the-job accidents are avoidable, and a worker who is injured in one may want to have the assistance of an attorney in applying for workers’ compensation benefits to help with medical and other expenses that are incurred as a result.