Aging Baby Boomers Drive changes to Workplace Safety Programs

Injuries to aging workers drive up workers’ comp costs, but companies can counteract the trend.

People are living longer and retiring later, creating a workforce that brings deep knowledge and experience to the job–along with a higher propensity for injury. A new report by Insurance, Risk Management and Employee Benefits Specialists consulting firm, Lockton, reviews the trends and shows how companies can protect aging employees and minimize the risk of costly workplace injuries.

The report, authored by Lockton’s Bill Spiers, is titled A Safety Tsunami: The Baby Boomer Effect on Workers’ Compensation.” It includes an analysis of injuries and cost by age group, and it explains the specific measures a company can take to keep aging workers safe on the job.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, by 2030, one in four workers will be older than 55. Aging affects human performance and recovery time, which explains why older workers experience a high number of strains and sprains in manual labor jobs, and why workers’ compensation costs rise as the workforce ages. Even so, companies value the skills and experience of older employees.

“The aging workforce is a valuable asset for companies, provided they take measures to protect the safety of these employees,” Spiers says.  In his report, he offers aging workforce safety strategies that include the ergonomic assessment of job duties, reassignment, flexible schedules, and a wellness program focused on strength and flexibility.