Partly because of the aging population and the increased number of older people among the labor force, older workers are becoming more liable to fatal injuries on the job than workers overall. Employees in Tennessee should know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics made an analysis of this trend. From 1992 to 2017, the number of fatally injured workers went down 17% overall, yet the number of older workers among those fatalities rose 56%.
In all, 38,200 older workers died in that 26-year period, composing 26% of all fatally injured workers. The fatality rate for workers aged 55 to 64 was 4.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Those aged 65 and older were at an even higher risk, their fatality rate being 10.3 per 100,000 FTE workers. Contrast these two with the overall workplace fatality rate, which was 3.5 per 100,000 FTE workers.
Of those 38,200 fatalities, 3,772 were tractor-trailer drivers and 3,217 were farmers. These were the two most dangerous occupations. In fact, one in seven fatally injured older workers between 2003 and 2017 were farmers. Of those fatally injured farmers, 98% were self-employed, 99% were U.S.-born and 61% died in the Midwest region of the country. Most of these farming fatalities involved a tractor or other agricultural or garden equipment.
Families of fatally injured employees can file a claim under workers’ compensation law and, if all goes well, receive what are called death benefits. These can pay out a certain portion of the decedent’s weekly pay and cover funeral and burial expenses. In some cases, though, employers will deny a claim for a variety of reasons. Accordingly, families may want a lawyer to help them with their case, especially with any appeals that must be made.