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Aging workforce challenges workplace norms

Thanks in part to the recession, an increasing number of older workers in the United States are staying in the workforce. This, however, does not make them immune from the physical deterioration that comes with aging. Reduced physical condition and other adverse effects of aging could make these individuals more susceptible to workplace hazards. In such cases where older workers are injured on the job, long-term disability benefits are a must in order for them to survive.

The number of older workers in the U.S. is growing at an alarming rate, and many think that it will continue to climb for years to come as the recession and other factors take their toll on retirement savings. In short, individuals who thought their nest egg was enough to retire on were mistaken and now have to return to work in order to make financial ends meet.

The numbers are staggering. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 1988 there were 15 million workers 55-years-old or older. This number moved to 28 million in 2008 and is expected to hit around 40 million in 2018. This would account for around 25 percent of the entire workforce in 2018.

Older workers present different health and safety risks, and with the trend the country is facing right now, employers need to take notice. It is a proven fact that older workers are less likely to get injured on the job, but when they do, their recovery time is significantly longer than that of a younger worker. This makes the need for long-term disability benefits even greater.

Back in 2005, the American Society of Safety Engineers proved through a poll that many companies did not facilitate an aging workforce. This was even before the numbers reached the heights they are at now.

Source: Business Insurance, "Rapidly growing older workforce demands employer attention to injuries," Roberto Ceniceros, Feb. 2012

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