Data released by the US Census Bureau indicates that almost 15% of the nation’s workforce is older than 70 years. This is reported to result from people nationwide, including in Illinois, living healthier, longer lives combined with their financial needs. The percentage of older workers increased significantly over the past two decades, and numbers are expected to grow even more in the coming years. One of the benefits of having more experienced, older workers in a work crew is the reduced likelihood of work injury incidents.
There are many other advantages of hiring older workers. They have more experience and knowledge, and could, in many cases, provide valuable guidance to younger workers. Older workers have proved to be more loyal and reliable. Although work-related injuries among older workers are less likely, they are often more severe when they do happen, and older workers take much longer to recover.
The importance of adequate safety training is paramount. Most older workers are quite capable of mastering new skills in the workplace, but they might need extended training periods. Employers might even have to adjust their training methods to teach an aging workforce to operate new equipment safely, and sufficient practical training is crucial.
Fortunately, the Illinois workers’ compensation insurance system covers all workers, regardless of age. Any victim of a work injury can file a claim for benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages for a period of temporary disability while the worker recovers. The administrative and legal steps of the claims process are best handled by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.