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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Workplace Safety, the Aging Workforce & The Logical Step

Safety in the workplace is now a growing concern as US aging workforce expands. It has been frequently reported that the expansion of this dimension of the labor sector has generated an increase in serious accidents and illness at work.

Over the past decade the work force has demographically changed. The number of those who are working past age 55 has grown. This increase mirrors an increase in accidents at work. It well known that those age 55 and older have a higher propensity for illness and disease resulting in complex of medical conditions.

The workers' compensation claims for this age group have become more serious and eventually evolve into Social Security Disability Claims. Besides the administrative complexity of navigating a fragile and dysfunction workers' compensation, these workers are require more emergent medical care for exigent conditions.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recognized this issue and is attempting to put SAFETY back into the equation.

"A report of conference presentations and discussions among participants from the National Academies of Science, universities and research institutions, and representatives of professional associations, industry and labor, recommends attention to workplace environments to maintain “work ability” as workers age, along with legislative fixes and research to fill in knowledge gaps for keeping workers healthy and productive."

As Social Security studies these issues, and more reliable data becomes available through NIOSH's efforts, a redesign of the approach to mandate safety, and deliver medical benefits universally and in a more efficient fashion, appears to be the next logical step.

Click here to read more about safety and workers' compensation.