Older workers at higher risk of injury

Older workers at higher risk of injury: When a person ages they may have restrictions on what they can do that they didn’t have before.  For instance, it is well known that peoples’ eye sight can decline and they may have trouble reading as well as before. Called presbyopia, this condition may stat in the early to mid 40’s and continue to decline through age 60 (AOA, n.d.).  There is also age-relate hearing loss or presbycusis (NIDCD, 2018) and slowing of the human body’s reflex responses (Hanahran & Jasmin, 2019) that accompany ageing.  Add to the that the likelihood that an older employee is more likely to suffer from a chronic health condition or that “balance problems are among the most common reasons” for older adults to visit the doctor (NIA, 2015).  Unfortunately, our bodies start to work against us and I think that’s the largest reason for older people to be at higher risk.

A coroner or a medical examiner’s job is to document the cause of death. Different states have differing requirements but generally they would investigate a death caused by murder, suicide, or accident. If the person died as a result of a workplace accident, there would likely be an autopsy required and thus their records would be a good source for data regarding workplace fatalities.  Also, while medical records are generally protected by HIPAA, autopsy reports in many states are considered public record so they would be easier to access.

employers would be scared to accurately report their injuries because they would be worried about fines from OSHA for not following all safety protocols.   There is also a possibility that there is confusion or poor record-keeping on the part of the people answering the survey thus leading to inaccuracies. There are also a lot of self-employed workers or those paid “under the table” who would not be included or represented in the sample.

Hospital discharge data would not cover any visits of people who just visited their regular doctor or an urgent care facility.  It would likely miss illness cases, and more likely pick up injury ones. You would also likely miss anyone who developed a disease as an exposure at work, as this may not immediately be recognized as workplace related. Also, if the person provided their own insurance as the payer and not workers compensation, then they would be likely to be missed.

Hispanic workers would have higher workplace fatalities.  First there may be a language barrier if English is not their first language.  The language barrier can possibly interfere in communication during training and during safety training, so that they misunderstand or entirely miss out on important information. The language barrier can also contribute to a larger problem being that a Hispanic worker may not understand the laws and protections that are in place to protect them, so if an employer was acting improperly towards the safety of their workers, the Hispanic works are less likely to be aware they have recourse.

Secondly, a Hispanic worker may be more willing to take a physically demanding, more dangerous job.  This can partly be because the Hispanic workers are more likely to come from a lower SES and thus feel they need the job more.  Again language barriers can make them feel like they can’t get a better job.  Also, if they happen to be undocumented workers, they may take jobs that don’t follow safety rules. In this case, even if they understood their rights as workers they would be unlikely to protest dangerous workplace practices for fear of being deported.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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