As Workers Age Workers Compensation Costs Go Higher

Although older workers have a lower job injury rate, their injuries are often more severe. As people age, they experience some decline in balance, hearing, vision and respiration and what causes a sprained ankle in a 25-year old may result in a fracture in a 65-year old. Consequently, workers compensation costs for older Bakken oil field workers are higher.

In general, however, older workers tend to incur fewer job-related injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers age 65 and older experienced fewer injuries and illnesses than did younger workers. Older workers had 94.2 injuries or illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers in 2014 while the overall worker population had a rate of 107.1.

Research shows that adult workers, including those in the Bakken region, gain more emotional intelligence and stability at middle age, know how to minimize risks and are willing to speak out about problematic situations.

However, in areas such as the Bakken, workers 65 and older face a greater risk of injury from trips and falls showing a rate twice as high as workers under 45. Furthermore, injuries in older workers take a longer time to heal with the median off-work time at 17 days versus 4 days for those aged 16-19.

In addition to a higher work injury rate, older workers also show a higher fatality rate. In 2014, BLS preliminary data found that workers 64 and older had a fatal work injury rate of 10.2 workers per 100,000 compared to 3.3 for the general workforce.

Ever since the 1990’s, baby boomers are staying on the job longer either for economic reasons or because they enjoy working. In 1994, 75.1% of workers were 55 or more while in 2014 there were 40%. According to BLS predictions, 25% of all workers in 2022 will be 55 or older.

Regardless of age, our firm assists those sustaining work injuries in the Bakken. Please contact us for more information.