Since the United State’s population is aging, it’s not surprising that there are more and more workers in California who are 55 or older. In fact, their nation-wide number has doubled between 1992 and 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS goes on to say that while the number of workplace fatalities went down 17% during that period, it has increased 56% for older workers in particular.
A total of 38,200 older workers died from 1992 to 2017, accounting for just over a quarter of all fatally injured workers. The number of fatalities reached an all-time high in 2017. As for the fatality rate, it differed between those aged 55 to 64 and those 65 and older. Among the former, it came to be 4.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers; among the latter, it was 10.3 per 100,000 FTE workers. Both were still higher than the overall rate of 3.5.
Of those 38,200 who were killed, 3,217 were in farming and 3,772 were tractor-trailer or heavy-duty truck drivers. These two industries were the deadliest for older workers. Between 2003 and 2017, one in seven of all fatally injured older workers were farmers. The BLS discovered that 98% of the fatally injured farmers during that 15-year period were self-employed and 61% died in the Midwestern region.
When a loved one dies on the job, the surviving family may be eligible for death benefits under workers’ compensation. These benefits can cover a portion (usually two-thirds) of the decedent’s weekly income and pay out a reasonable amount in funeral and burial expenses. To see what the filing process will take, families may want to see a lawyer. The lawyer could help them with filing an appeal, too, if the employer denies the payment for whatever reason.