North Carolina and other states are experiencing surges in the number of older workers employed in many jobs, and this change will impact some aspects of occupational safety. Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections reveal that around 25 percent of all U.S. workers are projected to be no less than 55-years-old by the year 2022. Statisticians say that this is due to numerous factors, including the fact that baby boomers are staying in their jobs longer and that today's 401(k) retirement plans are more heavily impacted by market fluctuations.
According to safety and health analysts, older workers are generally less at risk for many injuries in the workplace. This trend stops being true for a few specific kinds of harm, however, such as falls, trips and slippage, which are twice as prevalent in worker populations above the age of 65 than they are in workers below 45-years-old.
The period between 2008 and 2014 also saw an increase in fatalities among workers above 65-years-old while other groups' workplace deaths decreased in the same time frame. One BLS researcher said that if the data holds, more aged professionals will die or get hurt at work in the future. Officials with organizations like the National Center for Productive Aging and Work acknowledged that employers and safety professionals need to make increased efforts to deal with such issues.
Different segments of the workforce require special considerations and dispensations when it comes to job safety. Employers who don't account for factors like age may be liable for workers' compensation claims after their failure to provide proper working conditions results in the injury of their staff. Those who feel that their workplaces lack appropriate protections may find it helpful to learn about the claims process.