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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C.
Helping Injured Workers In Arizona Since 1973

Are older Arizonans more prone to workers' compensation claims?

A recent study suggests that baby boomers in Arizona need to take extra care to avoid workplace injuries. The recent study shows that while more seasoned workers often bring a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to their occupations, they are also more prone to certain types of injuries that can cause employers to lose a substantial amount of income on workers' compensation payouts.

Interestingly, employees over 50 file fewer workers' compensation claims overall as opposed to their younger counterparts. However, older employees are more prone to filing claims based on long-term injuries that occur when someone repeats the same physical task over and over again. For whatever reason, these sorts of injuries cost employers more in the form of both medical expenses and lost wages.

Age discrimination is illegal in Arizona, and employers cannot target older employees for layoffs and firings, especially if the goal is to reduce workers' compensation premiums and payouts. However, employers, and particularly factory owners, can take certain steps to ensure that their more senior workers do not suffer from an injury related to repetitive motion.

One expert suggested that employers offer more "flexible schedules" and also suggested that employers needed to take a hard look at what tasks they were having their older employees perform in order to evaluate how those tasks could be done efficiently but without straining an employee's body. Finally, the expert recommended health and fitness programs geared toward the older generation of those in the workforce.

These suggestions are important, and hopefully Arizona employers will take them seriously. After all, because of Arizona's no fault workers' compensation system, an employer has a duty to look out for the health and safety of all of its employees, including its most senior ones. A baby boomer or any employee who has been injured because of his or her work may want to seek assistance in filing a workers' compensation claim.

Source: KMOX, "Aging Workforce Changes Workers' Compensation Trends," June 24, 2013

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