Facts about aging workers

In a physically demanding job, how do older workers fit in? Will they be more likely to be injured on the job? Not necessarily, according to an analysis by UnumProvident, a disability insurer based in Chattanooga, TN.

Here are some facts about older workers:

  • Older workers (over the age of 40) are less likely to be injured or to file claims for short-term disability. In fact, a 55-year-old worker is 55% less likely to be injured on the job than a 30-year-old.
  • However, 75% of long-term disability claims are from workers over the age of 40. Older workers may have a higher severity of injury and take longer to recover from their injuries.
  • Long-term impairment of older workers is most likely to be due to musculoskeletal disorders, cancer, and cardiovascular/circulatory disorders.
  • Only about one in 10 workers who are 45 to 64 had a significant disease if they had few risk factors (obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure) compared with 61% of older workers who had four or more risk factors.
  • Medical costs of a 40-year-old with four or more risk factors are three times as high as a low-risk 40-year-old worker.