Firm-Wide blog

Colorado Plays it Safer at Work Than Most

By Burg Simpson
September 5, 2017
4 min read

Other than being known for its benefits, Colorado is also a safer place to work than many other states. Colorado ranks above the national average for the number of employee fatalities, according to an exhaustive Associated Press analysis of federal data.

In fact, over the last decade, Colorado has managed to drive down worker deaths consistently over the last decade. In 2006, for example, employers reported 137 worksite fatalities, which set a rate of 5.63 for every 100,000 employees. In 2015, only 75 workers died on the job, reducing the death rate to 2.71. The 2015 national average sits at 3.21.

Despite these encouraging numbers, accidents still happen. If you have been hurt on the job, call a Colorado workers’ compensation attorney for help.

Older Workers, Greater Risks

The good news for Colorado does not end there. The state has also managed to experience a promising drop in the rate of workplace deaths among older employees, those over 55. Two dozen older workers in Colorado died in on-the-job accidents in 2015. That is a big improvement over the 34 fatalities reported back in 2006.

Nationally, older employees are not faring as well. Despite the fact that workplace fatalities overall are falling across the country, older workers are dying on the job at a much higher rate. More than a third of worksite deaths involved an older employee.

The AP report revealed that over the last decade, fatal workplace accidents among all age groups fell 22 percent. However, the rate of fatal accidents among older workers particularly during that time period was 50 to 65 percent higher.

Of course, there are significantly more older workers in the labor force today, according to the Pew Research Center. Those workers are putting in more hours, as well. Nearly 19 percent of older Americans (65 and older in this study) are working. Over the last decade, the amount of older workers has jumped 37 percent. It’s the peak in a nearly 20-year upward trend, which some experts are convinced will only increase. Over the course of the next decade, federal analysts predict that older employees will keep showing up for work and that they will make up roughly a quarter of the U.S. labor market.

Risks Older Employees Face at Work

Experts blame the rising death rate among older workers on a variety of factors, according to the AP report. These employees suffer naturally deteriorating vision and hearing, slower response times to stimuli, problems with balance, and chronic medical issues. These same factors though are one of the biggest reasons that insurance companies deny claims or treatment when they should be paying for the work-related injury.

The AP study also parsed out the types of accidents older workers suffer on the job, and singled out the top four increasingly common causes of fatal accidents.

  • Falls: up 20 percent
  • Hit by object/equipment: up 17 percent
  • Motor vehicle accidents: up 15 percent.
  • Fires/explosions: up 8 percent.

In researching this study, the AP investigators pored over numbers from the “Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census for Fatal Occupational Injuries” and from one-year estimates from the “American Community Survey.” Researchers excluded deaths by natural causes.

As we age, we face greater health risks overall, a higher incidence of accidents in the home, and the growing threat of suffering a fatal incident on the job. Older workers, especially if they have been hurt on the job, are not in the best position to work their way through Colorado’s workers’ compensation system. In addition, it is far more likely that the insurance company will deny your claim or a request for authorization for treatment and blame it on age-related issues like degenerative disc disease or old bones and joints.

If you have been injured on the job, or if you have lost a family member to a work accident, do not try to handle your complicated workers’ compensation case by yourself. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Our Colorado workers’ comp lawyers are ready to help and can be reached by calling 303-792-5595 or you can fill out a Free Case Evaluation form right now.

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