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Fatal injuries becoming more common among older workers

| May 1, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has analyzed the number of workplace fatalities from 1992 to 2017 and found that while there was a 17% decline overall, the number of older workers (55 and older) who died rose 56%. Employees in New Jersey, regardless of the industry they work in, will want to know more.

A total of 38,200 workers 55 and older died between 1992 and 2017, composing 26% of all fatally injured workers. The older the workers are, the more liable they are to be fatally injured. While the overall fatality rate came to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, the rate for workers 55 to 64 was 4.6. That for workers 65 and older was 10.3 per 100,000 FTE workers.

The reason for this trend may lie with the aging population in the U.S. The number of workers 55 and above who have joined the labor force more than doubled between 1992 and 2017. Naturally, some industries are riskier for older workers than others.

Of the 38,200 who were killed, 3,772 were drivers of tractor-trailer trucks and 3,217 were farmers. No other occupations led to more deaths. In fact, one in seven fatally injured older workers between 2003 and 2017 were farmers. Tractors were behind the death of 1,502 of the 3,217 farmers.

Both on-the-job injuries and workplace fatalities can form the basis of a workers’ compensation claim. In the case of the latter, the family or another eligible dependent can pursue a claim and, assuming that the employer does not oppose it, receive death benefits. These benefits cover funeral and burial expenses, provide wage replacement and can take care of any pre-death medical bills. It may be a good idea to have a lawyer’s assistance throughout the process.