Safety and OSHA News

New study confirms theories on older workers and injuries

Yep, there are differences in the injuries suffered by older workers compared to their younger counterparts. But it’s not all bad news for veteran workers. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report confirms that older workers suffer slightly fewer injuries, but when they do get hurt on the job, their recovery times are longer.

Here are some of the findings from Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Among Older Workers:

  • Workers aged 55+ make up 19% of the U.S. workforce and account for 17% of workplace injuries.
  • Length of absence from work per injury increased steadily with age and was highest for older workers (11 days for workers aged 55-64 and 12 days for those aged 65+).
  • Older workers had higher rates of falls on the same level (e.g. not a fall from a height). This rate increased steadily with age. They also had more fractures and hip injuries.
  • Older males had longer absences than older females (14 versus 9 days).
  • Workers aged 25-54 had the highest rates for overexertion.
  • Older workers had lower injury rates for cuts, lacerations and punctures.
  • Those 55+ had lower rates for back and upper extremity injuries.

The CDC says as the workforce ages, more research is needed to protect older employees from workplace injuries. Taking steps to address the types of injuries that are more likely to affect older workers (falls) will benefit all workers in the long run.

You can find the entire study here.

In your experience, do younger workers get injured more often? Do older workers take more time to recover? Is it worth investigating and addressing the differences in workplace injuries among various age groups? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.

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  1. I agree and it is expected to get higher as more and more of us stay longer in the workforce. Wellness and fitness will have a big influence on how we respond. Ergonomics and body mechanics awareness needs to be incorporated into the work culture. Use of mechanical means to move equipment and even how we sit at our computer stations needs to be evaluated so we work smarter not harder. Many all work at computers in some form or do the social media at home … my concern is that kids are starting on electronic equipment at much younger age and taught how to use the programs on the computer but not how to work at the computer … I had an occupational therapist tell me – the 30’s of yesterday are the 20’s of today. What are our kids going be like when they reach 50 like us?

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