This article discusses recently published federal data indicating that fatal injury rates for workers 45 and over were 8.8 per 100,000 in 2014, well above the overall rate of 3.3.
Robson Forensic industrial hygienist, Ron Schaible, CIH was interviewed for the story to explain how companies can take measures to help prevent injury events to older workers.
By: Quentin Fottrell
Published: Oct 2, 2015
Older workers and men suffer the most fatalities
As Americans get older, so does their risk of injury or death on the job. And with workers working longer, more may find themselves in potentially life-threatening situations.
Fatal injury rates for workers 45 and over were 8.8 per 100,000 in 2014, well above the overall rate of 3.3, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fatal work injuries for workers 55 and older, meanwhile, rose 9% last year to 1,621, up from 1,490 in 2013—the highest annual total since the BLS began tracking this data by age group in 1992.
That is in part a reflection of an aging workforce, experts say, with many postponing retirement because they don’t want or can’t afford to. That could lead to even more serious injuries and fatalities for older workers, and employers may need to adjust job descriptions and retrain workers to help prevent serious problems.
“We’re going to see more and more older Americans working in dangerous jobs, and they will end up being killed more often,” said Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Washington.
Ronald D. Schaible, a workplace safety expert at Robson Forensic in New York, which provides expert testimony in personal injury litigation, suggests that employers consider options including retraining workers as they age and designing responsibilities around a worker’s capabilities, rather than trying to jam a worker into a job description. “That might involve reducing the weight of loads that need to be lifted manually,” he said.
Workers should also be mindful of any medications they are taking, said Schaible, and should talk to their supervisor or human resources might affect their ability to complete certain parts of their responsibilities. Medication to treat blood pressure, for example, can cause weakness, leg cramps or fatigue, while medication for coronary heart disease can cause dizziness or blurred vision.
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Ron Schaible is an expert in occupational health, safety, indoor environmental quality, ergonomics/human factors, and training issues. For 29 years in insurance loss control and private industry, he constantly applied his knowledge and experience in environmental and occupational health and safety services to eliminate or minimize risks to people, products, and the environment. He’s familiar with OSHA and numerous EPA regulations and product warning issues. Ron is an active college instructor in his field with more than 18 years teaching experience, and has earned eight different certifications and registrations, including Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) in Comprehensive Practice, Certified Safety Professional (CSP), and Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE). He’s a Diplomat of the Academy of Industrial Hygiene, a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Industrial Hygiene Association.Market WatchMarket Watch