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Older workers less prone to injury but take longer to recover

It may seem to many Illinois employers that older employees would be more likely to be injured on the job, given that people of advanced age are often weaker and frailer than their younger counterparts. However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, older workers are actually less likely to suffer a severe injury at work.

In 2012, workers age 65 and older had the lowest rate of incidence at 89 cases per 10,000 workers. In contrast, the rate for all full-time workers was 112 cases per 10,000.

However, when it comes to recovery time the statistics tell a much different story. In 2012, the overall average time away from work due to illness and injury was nine days for full-time workers. Workers over 65 had a median recovery time of 14 days. Interestingly, workers between the ages of 45 and 54 ahd the highest incidence rate of any age group and clocked in an average recovery time of 11 days.

Overall, the average age of employees in the workface is getting higher. According to Marketwatch, approximately one-fourth of workers will be 55 or older by the year 2020. This represents a 19 percent increase from 2010. This increase is anticipated across every type of industry, with a slightly larger increase in white collar professions. In the past, older workers tended to hold more part-time jobs than full-time positions; however, more and more older workers are working full-time. As the workforce continues to age and older workers represent a larger proportion of employees, the potential for injury and illness on the job increases.

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