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Study Older Workers Have Less-Frequent but Costlier Injuries

January 19, 2010
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Related Topics: Workers' Compensation, Medical Benefits Law, Benefit Design and Communication, Compensation, Latest News
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Workers’ compensation claims for employees older than 65 are less severe in terms of indemnity and frequency but more severe in terms of medical costs compared with other workers, a study concludes.

The study by NCCI Holdings Inc. said claims are less frequent for older workers than for all others, particularly in manufacturing and construction because a greater proportion of older workers are employed as supervisors in those industries, researchers for the Boca Raton, Florida-based rating and research agency said in a report released Friday, January 15.

In contrast, claims frequency is higher for older workers in the leisure, hospitality, food preparation and service occupations.

Falls, slips and trips are the most common cause of older workers’ on-the-job injuries, according to “Claims Characteristics of Workers 65 and Older.”

While workers 65 and older constitute a small share of the nation’s employment and injury cases, NCCI said it examined claims generated by older workers because economic conditions could push more to work longer.

“Simply put, for many persons in their late 50s and early 60s, whose life savings have been severely depleted and whose homes are now worth far less than anticipated, the idea of a normal retirement is now more in the realm of wishful thinking than an achievable reality,” the report states.

Workers 65 and older already have increased from 11 percent of the U.S. workforce in the late 1980s to 17 percent currently, according to the report at www.ncci.com.

Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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