Older adults born between 1946 and 1964 are also known as the Baby Boomer generation. They are famous for being hardworking because of their willingness to put in long hours, and today, many are still doing so despite having reached retirement age.
This situation presents a unique challenge for these older Americans at work since as they age, their bodies weaken and cannot perform tasks as vigorously as before. While many Boomers have the necessary experience to avoid hazards on the job, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown they suffer more severe workplace injuries than their junior colleagues.
Baby boomer employees who get hurt while working more often suffer serious harm and fatalities, which may require a longer recovery period due to other conditions they already have. This could include diseases like diabetes or arthritis. Heart disease can also complicate the healing process, and medical costs associated with workplace injury claims are higher because of pre-existing health issues.
The reason for this appears a physiological, and companies who employ this older generation of employees are trying to accommodate.
As we age, muscle strength weakens and leaves our lower bodies vulnerable to slips and falls. These falls take longer for elderly workers to heal from as this process also slows when we age. Falls off of ladders and other situations requiring balancing and heights pose a higher risk for serious, if not fatal, injuries for working baby boomers.
Loss of Hearing and Vision
Age also takes a gradual toll on our hearing and vision. Older employees lose valuable awareness of their surroundings and may not see a forklift or other motorized transport within a warehouse when walking around blind corners and intersections.
According to a report by The National Council on Insurance Compensation, baby boomer workers had more injuries involving the knee, lumbar, and shoulder rotator cuff. It was also determined that falls were the top risk for older adults in the workplace, which were often debilitating and required longer recovery times.
When comparing the differences of injury types between the Boomers versus younger generations, senior employees were less likely to suffer minor injuries like cuts and lacerations. The overall point is that despite not experiencing as many injuries, the Boomer generation is more likely to get seriously hurt when they do.
Employing senior workers is an invaluable resource of experience and wisdom for any company, but the risk of devastating injury is very real. In addition to higher rates of accidents resulting in fatalities, there are other important factors to keep in mind when working with this generation of employees.
According to the Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Among Older Workers, there are additional factors to consider when evaluating the impact of baby boomers on the workman’s compensation process:
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