In its January 2020 issue of the Monthly Labor Review, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results of an analysis it made on fatal occupational injury numbers from 1992 to 2017. While overall the numbers declined 17%, the opposite was true for workers 55 and older. Georgia workers should know that 56% more older workers died in 2017 than in 1992. The increase was 66% among those who were 65 and older.
Workers 55 and older made up 25% of all the occupational fatalities during the period analyzed. In all, there were 38,200 such fatalities among older workers. The fatality rate for those aged 55 to 64 was 4.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers whereas the overall rate was 3.5. However, the rate for workers 65 and older was a dismaying 10.3 per 100,000 FTE workers.
A total of 3,217 farmers and 3,772 heavy-duty and tractor-trailer drivers 55 and older were killed between 1992 and 2017, making these two industries the most dangerous for older workers. Interestingly, the fatal injury rate for young and old tractor-trailer drivers was largely the same. As for farmers, they composed 14% of fatally injured older workers and 2% of younger workers. Between 2003 and 2017, 98% of fatally injured farmers were self-employed.
A fatal occupational injury can be the basis of a workers’ compensation claim, and either the immediate family or another eligible dependent may pursue it. Death benefits can cover funeral and burial expenses and regularly pay out a portion of the decedent’s weekly income. It may be wise to have the help of an experienced attorney throughout the process.