Padilla Law Group, LLP

Older workers make up large number of workplace deaths

Work shouldn't be something to fear. Yet, if current statistics are any indication, far too many workers are injured and even killed on the job. According to recently released statistics from the federal government, this may be especially true for older workers, defined as those who are age 55 and older. Those statistics indicate that, in 2015, more than one-third of all fatal workplace accidents involved an older worker. That accounts for nearly 1,700 of the almost 5,000 workplace deaths that occurred across the nation that year. This study did not include deaths caused by natural causes.

There may be many reasons for the increased death rate amongst older workers. Some attribute the rising share to the fact that the Baby Boomer generation continues to work, causing the workforce to age considerably. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, the number of older workers in the workplace increased by 37 percent. Others claim that these aging workers are more susceptible to workplace accidents because their physical abilities, including sight and hearing, are decreased. Some, though, claim that despite their age and their lessened abilities, employers are failing to provide their workers with adequate protection.

The statistics may support the latter claim. Fall-related deaths increased in 2015 by 20 percent, and injuries and deaths caused by equipment rose 17 percent. Employers need to make sure they are doing everything they can to protect all workers, including those who are older, even if that means paying for additional training and safety equipment.

Those who have been injured in a workplace accident, as well as the surviving families members of those killed in such accidents, can face significant losses that can be physical, emotional, and financial in nature. In order to recoup these losses, they may want to consider seeking benefits from the workers' compensation system. When these benefits are insufficient, though, and negligence contributed to the injuries or death, then it may be time to consider a supplemental third-party claim. Speaking with an experienced attorney may help a victim and his or her family better understand how best to approach their case.

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