Older workers in Chicago and across the United States are at higher risk for fatal on-the-job injuries, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report was published in the BLS Monthly Labor Review in January.
BLS researchers used data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries program to track deadly on-the-job accidents involving older workers from 1992 to 2017. They found that fatal occupational injuries increased by 56% among older workers during that time. In contrast, overall fatal injuries decreased by 17% over the same period. In total, 38,200 older workers were killed on the job over the 25-year span, accounting for 26% of all fatal workplace injuries. In 2017, fatalities for older workers hit an all-time high.
The analysis also found that older tractor-trailer truck drivers and farmers suffered the largest number of deadly injuries, with 3,772 and 3,217 fatalities, respectively. For truck drivers, older and younger drivers suffered similar death rates. However, for farmers, older workers suffered a much higher death rate than younger workers. According to the authors of the report, the reasons for the overall increase in older worker fatalities include an aging U.S. population and an increase in workers aged 55 and over.
Most older workers who suffer on-the-job injuries are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits through their employer’s insurance policy. Many injured workers find it helpful to consult with an attorney before filing a workers’ compensation claim. The attorney could review the details of the case and ensure the worker applies for all available benefits, such as medical coverage and wage replacement payments. If a worker’s claim has already been denied, the attorney might be able to file an appeal on his or her behalf.