Age affects many aspects of the working world. Some of those aspects reflect trends in population growth, others in increased longevity.
Within the world of workers’ compensation costs and payouts, age impacts the bottom line of companies and workers in different ways.
It isn’t a linear curve; older workers don’t necessarily lead to more injuries or increased costs. In looking at the data, some interesting tradeoffs occur.
The following explores what injuries and workers’ compensation looks like as employees age.
Age and Risk
First, age has an interesting relationship with the risk of injury to workers.
Older workers (defined as 45+) are more likely to suffer permanent injuries. They are also more prone to demonstrate damage from repetitive motion and stress injuries.
Younger workers (18-24) are more likely to suffer catastrophic injury and are more accident prone. Part of this comes from a lack of experience and part of it comes with a lack of risk-adverse behaviors. Simply put, younger workers are far more likely to pursue dangerous jobs and to put themselves in harm’s way.
Age corresponds with an increased risk in permanent disabilities. The older a person gets, the more likely they are to suffer an injury that does additional damage.
Statistics related to this correlation are slow to emerge because older workers tend to get promotions and move into managerial or desk-duty style jobs. People naturally slow down over time and look for positions that better serve their capabilities and experience.
Age and Recovery
The older a worker gets, the more time it takes them to recover from an injury. Again, this is partially owed to biological factors and partially to social.
Younger bodies naturally heal faster and are overall more resilient to injury. Younger workers are also keen to return to work quickly and often have fewer assets to rely on when their earning potential is interrupted.
Older workers understand that a full recovery limits the likelihood of additional injury. They also have the resources to take more time off and still rejoin the workforce.
Though it takes longer for an older worker to recover, they have fewer overall accidents. For each year of age, costs for workers in relation to compensation costs rise.
Age and Pre-Existing Conditions
Finally, the older a worker gets, the more likely they are to have a past injury that limits them in some fashion. These pre-existing injuries create opportunities for more lasting damage.
Joints and bones don’t heal back to 100% and repeated injuries in the same location decrease durability.
This is common sense, but since the majority of workplace injuries are from repetitive motions, this becomes a profound, iterative effect.
No matter your age, you deserve comprehensive compensation in the case of a workplace accident or injury. The cost that a company accrues from an older workforce is easily balanced by the experience and expertise you provide.
Contact us for more information if you’ve been injured on the job and are running into difficulties filing a claim. We’re here to help.