BLS: older workers more likely to die on the job

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2020 | Blog, Workers' Compensation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that older workers (aged 55 and above) in New Jersey and around the country are more liable to be fatally injured on the job. From 1992 to 2017, the number of workplace fatalities overall went down 17%, yet the number among older workers rose a startling 56%. In all, 38,200 older workers across the U.S. died on the job in that time period. They made up 26% of all fatally injured employees.

When narrowing its analysis to workers aged 65 and older, the BLS discovered an even greater difference between 1992 and 2017. The latter year saw 775 of the oldest of workers die: 66% more than in 1992. While the fatality rate for workers aged 55 to 64 was 4.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, the fatality rate for those 65 and older was 10.3 per 100,000 FTE workers. Both are still higher than the overall workplace fatality rate (3.5).

An aging population and higher labor-force participation among the elderly are behind this trend. Farming and long-haul truck driving were the two deadliest occupations for older workers. Between 2003 and 2017, one third of all fatally injured workers 55 and older were farmers. Most of these farming fatalities involved a tractor or other agricultural or garden machinery.

If a loved one was fatally injured, then the family may be able to file a claim under workers’ compensation law and receive death benefits. The program can regularly pay out a percentage of the decedent’s weekly income and cover funeral and burial expenses, among other things. When workers are injured, they themselves can file a claim and be reimbursed for medical bills and a percentage of lost wages. Whatever the situation is like, it may be wise to consult an attorney before moving forward.