CDC: Injuries Cause More Missed Days in Older Workers

Older workers have similar or lower rates of injury than younger workers but take more time off

THURSDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- While older workers, aged ≥55 years, represented just 17 percent of employer-reported nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2009, the median number of days older workers spent absent from work exceeded that of younger age groups, according to a report in the April 29 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and several state partners analyzed data from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses to identify occupational safety issues affecting older workers.

Based on employer reports, the researchers found that an estimated 210,830 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses among older workers in 2009 resulted in lost workdays. Compared to younger workers, older workers had similar or lower rates for all injuries and illnesses combined. Seventeen percent of employer-reported nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were among workers aged 55 and older. However, the length of absence from work increased steadily with age and was highest for older workers. In addition, compared with younger workers and workers of all ages, older workers had higher rates of falls on the same level, fractures, and hip injuries.

"Government agencies, research organizations, and labor and trade organizations should develop, implement, and evaluate additional guidance and programs, including guidance specific to reducing falls among older workers, the various types of work done by older workers, and the diverse industries in which they work," the authors write.

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