The number of older workers in the American workforce continues to remain high, as many postpone retirement for economic reasons. Older workers are not necessarily at a higher risk of workplace accidents, but they are more likely than their younger co-workers to be injured when accidents do occur.
Many seniors have stayed in the workforce not only because they can’t afford retirement, but also because they need to pay immediate bills. Some industries with a shortage of skilled workers are encouraging their older, experienced employees to remain on the job longer.
Employers, however, need to minimize the risk of accidents involving older workers. Older workers could be given tasks that don’t carry a high risk of ergonomic strain, back and neck injuries and other serious injuries. It is important for employers to analyze the physical strain required to perform some work activities.
Employers can also use techniques such as job rotation to avoid excessive pressure or strain on a single worker or a single group of workers. They also can encourage the use of mechanical aids and automated systems to reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries that can have a devastating effect on a worker. Employers with many senior workers should also offer workplace health and wellness programs that address their particular needs.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned.