Americans are working longer as they age. The days of a “full” retirement pension with healthcare benefits are rapidly fading. Many workers have no pension, little savings and will be forced to rely on Social Security. With the minimum retirement age for many workers now at 67 for Social Security, a large number of workers will find it necessary to keep working beyond the traditional retirement age of 65.

One of the consequences of this trend is more of these workers will die on the job. In part, this will be due to their becoming more fragile as they age. An injury that a 25-year-old can survive and recover from could kill a worker at age 65. 

The other problem is they become weaker and more prone to accidents. This effect can be exacerbated if they have other health conditions that force them to take medications that can affect their ability to work. The other element is that working in general places a strain on the body. If you have toiled in construction all of your working life, you will likely have spent years suffering abuse to your body while performing your job.

Heavy lifting, repetitive shocks to your bones, minor accidents that you shrugged off when you were young. All of that wear-and-tear becomes cumulative, and places you at a greater risk of suffering a debilitating or fatal accident as you age.

One expert suggests that employers can help protect workers by better tailoring jobs to workers as they age. Recognizing that older workers should not be placed in positions where they are at a high risk for injury and that job descriptions should be modified to reduce activities that increase the risk of injury.

Source: marketwatch.com, “Why some people are more likely to die at work than others,” Quentin Fottrell, October 2, 2015