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Safety on the job with an aging workforce

Safety on the job can be affected by many factors, and Pennsylvania employers may be surprised to learn that statistics reflect better safety levels among workers who are at or over the age of 55. There are several possible reasons, including the fact that this age group tends to be more emotionally stable. The accumulated wisdom and insight that accompanies many years of work can also play a role in safer work habits. In many cases, experienced individuals have the ability to recognize unsafe actions or patterns, heading them off by recommending changes.

Although older employees tend to be safer, they can be more prone to slipping, falling, and tripping. According to 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the incidence rate for these types of workplace injuries among those 65 or older in that year was approximately double that among those under the age of 45. Because older workers tend to require more time for healing from injuries, these accidents can lead to a serious loss of productivity through missed work. Per the BLS, the median time missed by a worker at or over 65 years of age in 2014 after a slip-and-fall accident was 17 days. Vision, balance, and difficulties in breathing can increase the risk of falling for elderly employees.

It is important to note that statistics reflect past trends, but future workplace issues can diverge from these indicators. Some aging workers may still be equipped to handle hazardous tasks. Others may need to be placed in a safer position because of indications of balance or health problems. Safety training is an important part of equipping all workers to handle their jobs with minimal risk of injury.

In spite of good training and careful attention to safety practices, workers of any age can be injured on the job. Even if a worker's actions or ignorance of safety protocol contributes to the injury, workers' compensation should provide for treatment. If an employer attempts to thwart an injured party's efforts to obtain these benefits, a lawyer might be helpful.

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Law Office of Richard F. Maffett Experienced Harrisburg, PA Attorney

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