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Researchers say risk of on-the-job injury changes over time

Two researchers recently looked at trends in the healthcare industry related to on-the-job injuries among healthcare workers. The researchers were specifically interested in the types of injuries that aging healthcare workers may suffer. The study also looked at the kinds of accidents that may be more prevalent among older workers in the health industry.

The research is believed to be the first published study looking at the topics within the healthcare field, despite common knowledge of the aging of the baby-boom generation and the consequent effect on age demographics in the workplace.

Other studies have found that the risks for workplace injuries and occupational illnesses are not necessarily constant throughout a worker’s career in the general workforce. The recent study results found that in the healthcare industry, the risk of being involved in an on-the-job accident also changes over time.

The analysts say that younger workers are more likely to be injured through overexertion, or in an accident involving other things (such as equipment). As workers age, the risk of injury increasingly points to slip, trip or fall accidents.

Obviously, our Santa Ana area readers may understand that a trip-and-fall accident can cause a wide range of different types of injury. Broken bones or spine problems may occur in a fall. Head injuries can harm workers who have fallen down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that trip-and-fall accidents are the leading cause of brain injury in the United States. Moreover, traumatic brain injuries are involved (as, at least, a contributing factor) in nearly one-third of all injury related fatalities in America.

The recent study says that workers aged 65 or more are five times more likely to be injured in a slip, trip and fall-type accident than a teen working in the healthcare industry. The changes in the frequency of particular types of accidents may occur, in part, due to changes in physical characteristics associated with aging. But, the researchers say that changes in job duties as a person progresses and advances through a career is also a factor in the changing statistical analysis.

When a worker suffers injury, statistics may seem less important. Injured workers may be more concerned with the road to recovery and covering the bills. Workers’ compensation benefits may help a worker with the financial side, as well as providing resources to facilitate recovery.

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

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