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Age affects type of workplace injuries among healthcare workers

Work-related injuries can occur at any type of job to any employee. However, many workers here in California may not have considered that age may play a role in the risk for injury and the type of injury a worker may sustain. A recent study published by the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare reveals that workplace injuries in the healthcare industry are different among younger workers than they are among older ones.

Researchers used data from multiple sources to show how injury patterns change as a healthcare worker ages. For example, workers who are 18 or 19 years old are more likely to suffer injuries due to overexertion or not handling equipment properly. On the other hand, older healthcare workers -- particularly those 65 and older -- are five times more likely to be injured from slip-and-fall injuries.

A change in worker's physical ability, such as balance, strength and reaction time, may account for the differences in the types of injuries as he or she ages. In addition, older workers are often in supervisory positions with fewer physical demands. Evidence also shows that inexperience may be a factor in the injuries sustained by younger workers.

The study was conducted with the hope that healthcare organizations will start addressing more of the safety issues pertaining to older workers. Currently, nearly 18 percent of workers in healthcare organizations across California and the United States are within 10 years of retirement age. However, regardless of age, anyone who experiences workplace injuries in our state may benefit from discussing his or her eligibility for workers' compensation benefits with someone who is knowledgeable about our laws. This may help the process go more smoothly and ensure that the worker receives all available benefits.

Source: ehstoday.com, Slip-and-Fall Injuries 5 Times Higher for Older Healthcare Workers than Young Ones, Sandy Smith, Dec. 4, 2013

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