A recent study released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that older employees, as a group, have a higher risk of work-related injuries and illnesses. Interesting to your Charleston nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys, was the study also found that older workers, age 55 and older, are the fastest growing segment of the United States workforce. Thus, it is extremely important for employers and employees to recognize the heightened risk older workers face, and proactively protect this group of workers from occupational injuries.
The study itself, conducted by the NIOSH in conjunction with other agencies, analyzed 2009 occupational injury and illness data and found that older workers had longer absences from work due to injury. Workers age 55-64 missed an average of 11-12 days. Not only did older workers miss more days they also had higher incidences of work-related slip and falls, bone fractures, and hip injuries than their younger counterparts. In total, there 210,830 on the job injuries for older workers in 2009, which accounted for 17 percent all cases that year.
Aging, according to medical research, causes physical changes such as hearing and vision loss, as well as decreases in balance, flexibility, and strength. In other words, aging impairs all physical attributes and senses, making some jobs and tasks more difficult to complete. Also, as people get older in age, their bodies take longer to heal from an injury, making older workers more susceptible to injuries that become chronic conditions.
Safe working conditions is an important priority that all employers should keep at the top of their lists in order to prevent work-related injuries. Oftentimes it is only minor adjustments that can benefit workers and prevent injuries. For example, keeping floor surfaces clean, dry, and free of clutter can prevent slip and falls, while well-lit and ergonomic workstations put less strain on employees’ eyes and keeps employees comfortable and productive.
Employees can protect themselves from injuries as well, by having regular tests of hearing and vision, limiting alcohol consumption, wearing appropriate footwear, and staying physically fit, an older worker can reduce the risk of work-related accident or injury.
Your South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at Howell and Christmas want older workers injured on the job to know it is best to consult an experienced attorney before filing any claims for benefits. Also, if your employer was negligent in ensuring your safety or did not make reasonable accommodations for your needs, you may be entitled to additional damages and workers’ compensation coverage.