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The safety of older workers in the workforce


The safety of older workers in the workforce

Older workers in South Carolina and the rest of the country are a part of a growing segment of the United States workforce. Their increasing presence is motivating researchers and safety professionals to come up with efficient methods of accommodation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19 percent of workers were at least 55 years old in 2010. In 2015, that percentage increased to 22.6 percent, based on data from the United States Census Bureau. The BLS estimates that by 2024, older workers will comprise 24.8 percent of the workforce.

Some reasons for the increase in older workers include longer life expectancy and the fact that many seniors are experiencing financial issues. Not everyone is able to contribute enough to their pension to allow them to live comfortably, and there are limited financial resources.

Workplace injuries are a concern of both workers and employees. The physical changes that occur as one grows older can make physical rehabilitation more difficult. The 2014 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses reported that workers who were 45 to 54 years of age tended to experience musculoskeletal disorders at the highest rate across all demographics at 10 per 10,000 full-time workers. Injuries involving the knees, back, shoulder and torso were more common among older workers than their younger counterparts, who were more likely to have sustained injuries to the hands and head. The 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reports that there is also an increased risk of falling in all industries as a worker’s age increases.

A personal injury lawyer may work to ensure that a client is able to receive workers’ compensation for injuries that were sustained on the job. Alternatively, the attorney may file a lawsuit if there were certain negligent factors that caused the workplace injury.