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Protecting older workers on the job

Minnesota residents may not always consider older workers when they think about workplace injuries. Being older can sometimes cause people to incur more injuries on the job, though, and they may be susceptible to more fatal injuries.

Older workers are more present in the workforce than they used to be. The Associated Press says that over the past ten years, 37 percent of older people are more likely to be in the workforce. Many of the jobs these people take on require some sort of physical labor. Since 2015, older workers have become 65 percent more likely to be involved in a fatal accident at work. Some of these injuries occur because of changes in a person's body as he or she ages. Some people may develop problems with their balance or experience hearing and vision impairment. Other people may have arthritis that can affect their movement on the job.

People may sometimes be more likely to experience a fatal fall when they are older. Safety and Health magazine says that people who are older than 65 are 27.3 percent more likely to fall. Sometimes this is simply because older workers have delayed reflexes and they may not always be able to break their fall in time to avoid incurring an injury. Additionally, it can sometimes take older workers longer to recover from wounds they sustain on the job. People above the age of 65 usually need to be away from their job for about 37 days to fully recover from an injury.

Some employers may want to consider adding extra protection to their work environment to protect these older workers. Some workers can typically avoid injuries if they have orthopedic shoes and work on special flooring designed to prevent knee strain. Additionally, employers may also want to make sure that older workers do no more than three hours of strenuous activity in a shift.

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