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Workplace injuries may cause longer absences in older workers

When occupational injuries suffered by older workers are discussed, it is not the frequency or the number of injuries that causes concern. Workplace injuries in the 55 and older age group are less common than in younger workers. However, they seem to have more serious consequences that require longer periods of recuperation. Approximately one in five workers in the nationwide workforce, including California, are currently older workers, and it is likely their extensive experience that protects them from suffering more injuries than younger workers.

The reasons for workers staying in the workforce longer may be financial, better health or just a love for what they are doing and not ready to give it up. However, authorities suggest employers reconsider the tasks allocated to older workers in order to help prevent workplace injuries. Many of the injuries suffered are reportedly caused by reduced flexibility of older bodies.

It is only natural for the bodies of workers to change as they age. They will likely experience a drop in muscle mass and reduced flexibility, along with decreased strength. It is also not uncommon for older workers to suffer deterioration of sight, hearing and balance. Nevertheless, they typically have experience to guide them.

California workers of all ages are entitled to pursue claims for financial assistance after suffering workplace injuries. Benefits claims may be filed with the workers' compensation insurance program. Along with compensation for medical expenses, the injured worker may also be awarded coverage of lost wages during any period of absence from work.

Source: work.chron.com, "Workplace Injuries for Older Workers", Laurie Reeves, June 26, 2016

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