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Do older people die in work accidents?

When you hear about fatalities on Minnesota job sites, you may not pay much attention to the ages of the people involved. You may be surprised, then, to learn that people over the age of 55 are increasingly involved in fatal work accidents.

While workplace fatality rates have dropped, the deadly incidents that do occur tend to involve older workers. According to PBS News Hour, older workers are typically involved in 35 percent of the fatal accidents that occur each year. This rate is at least 50 percent higher than the death rate for accidents involving all workers of any age. Part of the reason for this increase is that more people are still working into their mid-fifties and beyond. People older than 55 accounted for 1,681 of the workplace fatalities in 2015.

Sometimes these fatal incidents stem from changes people experience as they age. Some people develop medical problems that affect their muscles and bones and others find that their hearing or vision becomes impaired. Other people might have trouble with their balance or have a delayed response time. While these changes may not always be serious, they may sometimes cause a person to incur a more severe injury. Someone who has balance problems may have a higher risk of falling if he or she is working on scaffolding, and people may be unable to move out of the way if they do not see or hear an approaching hazard.

While any accident might become fatal, there are three kinds of incidents that have increasingly become deadly. Older workers are most often involved in falls and transportation accidents. Additionally, working with equipment and other objects has caused fatal accidents.

This information is general in nature and should not be used in place of legal advice.

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