This is not exactly a new trend. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported fatal work injury rates for workers 55 years and older were higher than the overall U.S. rate in 2010, and the rate for workers 65 years of age and older was more than three times the rate for all workers. Between 2006 and 2015 the rate of fatal accidents among older workers was 50 to 65 percent higher than for all workers.
The percentage of older employees in the workplace has increased some 37 percent in recent years, and experts on aging caution against stereotyping older workers, because people of all ages have a wide range of physical and mental abilities. There are steps employers can take to help improve safety for older workers, but recent research also shows younger workers benefit from increased safety efforts, as well. So perhaps the best approach is an increased focus on occupational safety for all workers, which can include prominent machine safety signs and other safety reminders.
AP examined the number and types of accidents in which older workers died between 2011 and 2015:
- Fall-related fatalities rose 20 percent
- Contact with objects and equipment increased 17 percent
- Transportation accidents increased 15 percent
- Fires and explosions decreased by 8 percent
- Read more on the AP study.
- Visit the NIOSH Productive Aging page.
- Download an OSHA presentation on safety and health issues in an aging workforce (PPT).
- Browse machine safety signs and labels at ComplianceSigns.com.