Minimizing the Impact of Workers' Compensation Costs With an Aging Workforce
The Fastest Growing Workforce Segment
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of workers ages 55 and older will increase to 41 million by 2024, and 13 million will be ages 65 and older. This is the fastest growing workforce segment for several reasons, such as their healthier lifestyles, better education and the need to save for retirement years.
An older workforce can contribute significantly to businesses through their skills and knowledge, as well as leveraging established networks, acting as mentors and serving as valuable members of multi-generational teams. While this group can positively impact an organization’s success, there are nuances to managing and understanding an aging workforce that can help minimize the impact of workers’ compensation costs.
Understand the Signs
To effectively manage an aging population, organizations should know the signs that suggest workers may need accommodations to be successful on the job.
- Physical signs such as fatigue, tripping or noticeable loss of balance
- Feedback from other employees that work has been declining in performance
- Psychological or emotional signs such as irritability or loss of patience with repetitive or new tasks
- History of minor work-related injuries or “near misses” with machinery or during other tasks
- Patterns and number of sick days
Keeping Employees Safe in the Workplace
There are many ways to help keep your aging workers safe in the workplace. By taking a proactive approach and making some workplace modifications, you’re a step toward ensuring the safety of all workers. Consider addressing the challenges associated with aging workers by taking these proactive steps:
- Encourage all employees to participate in an exercise program. This could potentially reduce the risk of experiencing an injury on the job.
- Rotate work assignments so aging employees have less exposure to repetitive motion risks. Rotating routines periodically can also improve employee morale by avoiding boredom.
- If possible, eliminate heavy lifts, long reaches and elevated work from ladders.
- Maintain facilities to help ensure a safe work environment. Poorly guarded machinery or other office equipment with makeshift repairs can result in injuries, especially for aging employees.
- Perform a job safety analysis and ergonomic assessment to identify possible improvements to a work environment. These tools can identify potential hazards and determine the safest way to perform a job.
- Prioritize slip and fall prevention at the workplace by installing skid resistant material for flooring and stairs. Falls alone are responsible for more than one-third of all injuries incurred by workers 65 and older.
- Design work floors and platforms with smooth and solid decking that also allows for some cushioning.
- Utilize telephone equipment with the capability to adjust the volume.
- Understand the connection between increased healing time and age; if an aging worker gets injured, it may take the employee longer to heal than a younger worker with a similar injury.
- Improve lighting and color contrast around the workplace as vision is typically compromised with age.
- Make safety a priority, with senior management visible in the safety effort and supportive of improvements.
How Can Alliant Help?
Alliant offers creative and powerful strategies with onsite consulting services to help clients effectively respond to the ever-changing circumstances and regulatory landscape. We offer a team of leading specialists to support key loss drivers and exposures.
Our all-inclusive Risk Management Center (RMC) platform creates effective risk mitigation programs for employee safety and compliance. This unique and robust web-based suite of safety and risk management tools provides a risk reduction and safety center for all departments and locations across client organizations, designed to make risk prevention efforts more impactful, cost effective and easier to manage.
Reach out today to request a job safety analysis and ergonomic assessment of your business.
News & Resources
Podcast: Changing Dynamics of the Public D&O Market for Life Sciences Companies
Rich Levitt, Life Sciences Practice Leader, is joined by Steve Shappell and Andrew Sousa, Alliant, to discuss how past securities litigation and industry trends are changing the dynamics of the public D&O market.
Controlling Workers’ Compensation Costs in California