On average, people in British Columbia are living longer than they ever have before. One of the offshoots of this trend is an aging workforce. One expert suggests that a corresponding increase in workplace injury frequency and recovery time is already evident.
It has been projected that the population of Canada will rise by more than five million over the next 30 years. Men and women over the age of 65 will make up 90 percent of that increase. More and more older people are staying at work than ever before, and the average age of the workforce is advancing.
For many reasons, older workers are more prone to suffering a workplace accident. Diminished hearing and eyesight are contributing factors, as is the loss of muscle mass often seen past age 50.
Additionally, older workers also tend to take longer on average to recover from injuries and return to work. According to one British Columbia researcher, the average 20-year-old will return to work after 20 days following a workplace injury. However, a 60-year-old averages 60 days off after an accident, which clearly increases the financial burden associated with time off.
Both employers and employees will need to work toward reducing potential hazards for older workers. The trend of an aging workforce give rise to questions in the event of a workplace injury to a senior employee. Any older man or woman that has been hurt at work, or the employer of such a person, may wish to consult with a labour and employment-focused lawyer about how to proceed after an incident.
Source: journalofcommerce.com, “Aging Canadian workforce means changes to occupational health and safety programs“, Peter Caulfield, January 24, 2017