In California and across the U.S., the number of people 55 and older in the labor force is increasing. In fact, it more than doubled between 1992 and 2017. Unfortunately, during that same period, the number of older workers who died on the job has gone up 56%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is despite the fact that fatal workplace injuries overall declined 17% in that period.
In all, 38,200 workers 55 and older died from 1992 to 2017: 26% of the total workplace fatalities. In 2017, the overall workplace fatality rate came to 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Among those aged 55 to 64, it was 4.6 per 100,000 FTE workers. As for those 65 and older, it was a startling 10.3 per 100,000 FTE workers. Workers 65 and older saw the highest increase in fatalities: 66% from 1992 to 2017.
Of the 38,200 killed, 3,772 were heavy-duty truck drivers and 3,217 were farmers. These, then, are the two most dangerous occupations for older workers. In fact, one in seven fatally injured older workers between 2003 and 2017 were farmers. Ninety-eight percent of the farmers fatally injured in this time period were self-employed, and 61% lived in the Midwest. Most of the fatal incidents involved a tractor or other agricultural machinery.
In the event that a loved one suffered fatal work injuries, the family or other dependents may seek death benefits from the workers’ compensation program. If someone incurred injury but survived, then that person may file for benefits personally. Whatever the situation is like, it may be wise to have a lawyer assist with each step. Employers do, after all, often deny payment, necessitating an appeal.