It’s not uncommon these days for people to work well into their 60s and even longer. Some do it because they simply can’t afford to retire. Others can’t imagine giving up their work and spending their days gardening or fishing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), almost 25% of working Americans were 55 or older in 2020.
Many senior workers continue in jobs that are physically strenuous, like those in the construction industry. While the risk of injury in these jobs is obvious, it’s also possible in jobs that require people to stand all day or engage in repetitive motions, like working in a store or on an assembly line.
When it comes to workplace injuries, older workers have some added risks. It’s typically not that they’re more careless than their younger colleagues. In fact, they often have the advantage of years of safety training, experience in using equipment correctly and knowledge of how to avoid injury.
Injuries can be more dangerous for older workers
However, an injury like a fall can be more serious for an older person than a younger one. Further, people often heal more slowly as they age. Another BLS statistic regarding older workers is that in 2019, those 55 and older suffered more fatal workplace injuries than ever before.
Employers have an obligation to create the safest possible workplace for all of their employees, regardless of their age. Sometimes, particularly in trades like construction, older workers can better and more safely be of use by training new employees and doing less of the physical work themselves.
It’s crucial to understand, however, that older workers have just as much right to receive workers’ compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses as any other workers. An employer can’t legally retaliate against anyone for filing a valid workers’ comp claim.
If you’re having difficulty with a workers’ comp claim because of your age (or for any other reason), it may be wise to seek legal guidance. This can help you protect your rights and get the financial help you need to cover medical costs and lost wages.