Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Efforts to limit workplace injuries in older workers

The demographics in California workplaces have undergone significant changes over the decades. People live longer and with improved education levels and fewer physical demands in many jobs, the percentage of men and women in the U.S. workforce who are older than 60 is said to have grown to 63 percent. Employers can limit the number of workplace injuries among older workers by considering some changes in safety protocols.

Deteriorating eyesight and physical strength of older workers might make them less steady on their feet and more vulnerable when it comes to slip-and-fall hazards. Frequent safety inspections are crucial, and even replacing a light bulb that has blown out can prevent falls. Other risks include snaking electric cords across walkways, loose or frayed mats, and slippery or wet floors.

Ergonomic assessments and modifications to fit workstations to workers can prevent injuries as employees age. Desks with adjustable heights, chairs that offer extra back support and screen magnification are but some of the ergonomic changes that can be made. Among many other considerations, older workers need flexibility from employers to allow frequent breaks and also accommodation when they need to take time off for medical appointments.

Employers can encourage older workers to maintain healthy lifestyles and get sufficient sleep. Although prioritizing employee safety might benefit all, workplace injuries will likely still occur. When they do, injured workers will probably be eligible for financial assistance through the state-regulated insurance system. An experienced California workers' compensation attorney can help with the navigation of benefits claims to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

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