An analysis of federal data shows that workers ages 55 and older are at a greater risk of dying in workplace accidents than workers in other age groups, according to the Associated Press (AP).
During its research, the AP found that approximately 35 percent of work-related accidents in 2015 that resulted in a death involved a worker age 55 or older.
The AP based its information off of data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census for Fatal Occupational Injuries and one-year estimates from the American Community Survey, which examines the working population.
Older Workers Involved in More Fatal Workplace Accidents
The AP’s analysis shows that although the number of fatalities caused by workplace accidents has declined, workers ages 55 and older are involved in more fatal accidents at work than their younger co-workers.
Between 2006 and 2015, the workplace fatality rate for all workers decreased from 5,480 in 2005 to 4,836 in 2015, representing a 22 percent decrease. However, depending on the year, the rate of deadly on-the-job accidents among workers 55 and older was 50 to 65 percent greater than all workers during this time.
In 2015, there were 1,681 workplace fatalities among workers categorized under the age group of 55-years and older.
The AP examined the types of workplace accidents that caused the death of an older worker and the frequency in which they occurred between 2011 and 2015, and found that:
- Fall-related deaths increased by 20 percent
- Transportation-related deaths increased by 15 percent
- Explosions and fires decreased by eight percent
- Contact with equipment and objects increased by 17 percent
The number of older workers also grew by 37 percent during this period, compared to the six percent growth in the overall workforce.
This will likely lead to a higher number of workplace deaths among older workers as some baby boomers are continuing to work past the traditional retirement age of 65.
By 2024, the federal government expects older workers will make up 25 percent of the U.S. labor market.
Nevada has a Higher Fatality Rate for Older Workers
The AP found that the fatality rate for older workers was consistently higher in most states throughout the U.S.
However, Nevada, Washington, and New Jersey experienced the greatest rise in fatal accidents for workers ages 55 and older between 2006 and 2015.
When the AP examined the fatality rate of older workers in metropolitan areas throughout the U.S., it found that workplace deaths in Las Vegas ran opposite to the national course.
In 2006, Las Vegas’ metropolitan area had a lower fatality rate among older workers than the rate among workers of all ages.
By 2015, the fatality rate in the population of older workers had more than doubled as the workplace accident rate among workers of all ages dropped.
Why Are Older Workers At Risk?
Health experts believe aging could affect a worker’s risk of involvement in a fatal on-the-job accident. The physical changes in an older worker’s body that come with aging can make the effects of a work-related accident’ on the body more severe, resulting in more serious injuries and possibly death. These changes include:
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Reduced reaction time
- Balance issues
- Chronic medical conditions
In a 2013 poll conducted by the AP and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 44 percent of older workers say their job required manual labor for a large portion of the time they work.
Additionally, 36 percent said that their current age made it more difficult to perform physical work than when they were younger.
While the number of workplace deaths among older workers is alarming, experts caution against providing additional protection specifically for employees age 55 or older, stating that it could lead to age discrimination within the workplace.
However, the National Center for Productive Aging and Work is advocating to make the workplace safer for older workers, such as improving the quality of lighting to help workers with poor eyesight.
Contact Our Las Vegas Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Now
At Henness & Haight, our personal injury attorneys are ready to work for those who have lost a loved one in a work-related accident.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team and learn if there are options available for you to pursue compensation from the at-fault party.
We will provide you with exceptional legal services on a contingency fee basis. Our attorneys will only require payment if we are able to recover compensation for your claim.