Older Workers Experience Rise in Death Rates

Michigan residents may not have considered how older workers are affected by workplace accidents. However, unforeseen incidents happen to both young and seasoned workers, and sometimes older workers may experience worse injuries or death.

While statistics demonstrate that fewer workers died each year by 2015, the number of older workers who died while working went up. In 2015, 1,681 older workers died, and over a 10 year period, employees over 55 experienced on-the-job deaths at a rate which ranged from 50 to 65 percent above those of younger employees. Michigan is one of several states which has experienced more fatalities among older employees while the rate has decreased as a whole. These increased death rates have caused one health and safety group to advocate for a safer workplace for seniors. The co-director of the organization has said that changes such as better lighting can help older workers be safer on the job.

More people are continuing to work after they turn 65, and this has led to a 37 percent rise in the amount of older people in the workforce. Many of the workplace accidents which can be fatal for seniors are transportation incidents and falls. The co-director of an aging center has said that while workers of all ages need increased protection on the job, seniors may not need more protection than their younger co-workers. These older workers experience different challenges as they age, and arthritis, impaired hearing and a slower response time are all factors which can affect a senior at work.

Because hazards may sometimes be greater as a person ages, older people may sometimes experience more accidents at work. Family members may want to seek legal counsel if an older relative died in a workplace accident which may have been prevented through increased safety measures.

Source: Washington Post, “Workplace accident death rate higher for older workers,” Maria Ines Zamudio and Michelle Minkoff, Aug. 2, 2017