Monday, March 09, 2009

Insurance Group Recommends Making Workplace Modications to Prevent Injuries to Older Workers

According to a new white paper by the PMA Companies, older workers are a benefit to the companies that employ them, but injuries to older adults tend to be of higher severity. Thus, U.S. companies should consider making workplace modifications that prevent injuries.

"Capitalizing on an Aging Workforce," authored by Ken Nogan, Risk Control Consultant at PMA Insurance Group, reports that since 1977, the number of people 65 and older in the workforce has increased more than 100%. Contrary to expectations, however, as over-55 workers increase in the workplace, so does productivity and overall workplace safety. However, the paper finds that, when older workers do experience injuries, severity can be significant, which is an issue that must be considered by safety professionals. Specific recommendations were made to help implement risk control measures designed for the needs of older workers, including:
  • Slip and fall prevention: Falls alone account for more than one-third of all injuries sustained by workers 65 and older, and it takes an older worker two to three times longer to recover from an injury than a younger counterpart.
  • Safe driving: Death rates for work-related roadway crashes increase steadily beginning at around age 55, and older drivers are more likely than other drivers to have a crash at an intersection or when merging or changing lanes on a highway.
  • Return to work: Because claim statistics reflect a connection between increased healing time and age, there is a need for highly responsive return to work efforts for older workers.
Source: PMA Companies News Release (March 4, 2009)

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