top of page

Elderly Workers’ Deaths are Increasing

A new study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of fatalities in older workers (ages 55+) have nearly doubled from 1992-2017, while workplace fatalities for 65+ workers have increased over 66%.

The table below shows the decrease in workplace fatalities for people ages 54 and under and the increase for workers ages 55 and over. While the percentage of older workers has increased by only 17% during this time, fatalities increased nearly 50% or more for older workers.

The graph below shows that younger workers fatality rates have declined by almost 40%, while fatalities for older workers have stayed stagnant, increasing more drastically from 2015 to present day.

As more Americans work into their 60’s and 70’s, it is crucial that employers ensure their safety. You may be entitled to workers compensation death benefits, as well as additional benefits if someone besides the employer was responsible.

If your loved one has passed away due to a work-related injury involving a third party, read more here.

Fatal Event or Exposure

There were 5,250 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2018, a 2% increase from the 5,147 in 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

- Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event at 2,080, accounting for 40% of all work-related fatalities.

- Incidents involving contact with objects and equipment increased 13%, driven by a 39% increase in workers caught in running equipment or machinery and a 17% increase in workers struck by falling objects or equipment.

By Occupation

- Driver/sales workers and truck drivers had the most fatalities at 966. Among all detailed occupations, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the most fatalities at 831.

- In 2018, logging workers, fishers, aircraft pilots, flight engineers, and roofers all had fatality rates more than 10 times the all-worker rate of 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) workers.

- Police and sheriff’s patrol officers had 108 fatalities in 2018, up 14% from 2017.

Independent Workers

In 2016, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) began identifying fatal injuries to independent workers.

Independent workers are involved in a work relationship that is finite and involves a single task, short-term contract, or freelance work.

- In 2018, there were 621 fatal injuries to independent workers, up from 613 in 2017.

- Occupations with the most fatal work injuries to independent workers in 2018 were heavy and tractor trailer-truck drivers at 96%. This is followed by first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers at 61%, and construction laborers at 48%.

What are the Next Steps?

All workers, regardless of age or occupation, deserve safe work environments. If you or a loved one has been injured or passed away on the job, the experienced lawyers at Kimmel, Carter, Roman, Peltz & O’Neill are able to help. Click here to contact us.


bottom of page