Older workers aged 55 and up are the fastest growing segment of the job market and the most prone to on-the-job injury – according to U.S. Center for Disease Control. //www.cdc.gov

A recent report from the CDC – “Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Among Older Worker” – reveals that among workers 55 and older, work place injuries accounted for 17 percent of total injuries in the last recorded period of 2009, compared to 12 percent in 2003.

“Older workers (defined as those aged 55 years and older) represented 19% of the U.S. workforce in 2009 and are the nation’s fastest growing segment of the working population,” said the report. Injuries and Illnesses Among Older Workers

A surge of injuries recorded on the job is due to the size of Baby Boomer population – and the fact that many Boomers now remain in the work force longer, largely due to economic pressures and the need to stay professionally connected. Baby Boomers risk injury with longer stay on job

In 2009, there were an estimated 210,830 non-fatal work injuries and illnesses among workers 55 and older, researchers found. Most of the injuries (94 percent) were the result of trauma, with chronic injuries, such as back pain and illnesses, making up the rest of the cases. Injuries among older workers on rise

Men, who make up 52 percent of older workers, accounted for 55 percent of the injuries and also stayed away from work longer than women (14 versus nine days, respectively), according to the report.

And not surprisingly, rates for falls – such as falling to a floor, on a walkway, or the ground or against objects such as desks, walls, or doors – increased steadily with age. Broken bones accounted for 11 percent of injuries among older workers – with most of the fractures were to ankles, arms, feet, legs, fingers and hips, the researchers found.

“There is an urgent need for us to look at the safety and health needs of older workers, because they are growing. Employers and others should take steps to help protect the older worker,” said report co-author Dawn N. Castillo, chief of the surveillance and field investigations branch in the division of safety research at the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Health news on workplace injuries

Both employers and employees should work together to create a safe environment. Employers can help reduce injuries by ensuring floor surfaces are clean, dry and well lit, removing tripping hazards and installing slip-resistant materials. Study confirms concern about older workers Employees should watch for unsecured cords and other objects, clean up spills, and wear appropriate shoes and attire. These and other measures may help reduce injuries help mitigate the rising tide of injuries among older workers.

Improving safety for older workers will also improve safety for all workers, Castillo said.

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