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Concerns for older workers

As of 2010, workers 55 and older comprised 16.7 percent of the American workforce, about one-third of which work physically-demanding jobs. For blue-collar workers over the age of 55, the risks at work are just as serious as face younger workers, though the types of injuries are different. For example, while younger workers may be more susceptible to falls from substantial heights or lifting injuries, older workers are more likely to tear a rotator cuff.

Because aging affects the power muscles -- which control grip, pinch and the legs, for example -- balance suffers in older workers. Microtears, small and often unnoticeable injuries which occur from physical strain, also contribute to a likelihood of injury. According to data from a recent study by Dutch researches, decline in hand and finger strength was present in workers over age 45. For employees who have been injured as a result of factors like these, it may be difficult to return to work.

Workers who are injured on the job, whether due to negligence on the part of the employer or simply an accident, it can be challenging to know where to turn next. Legal advice can never go remiss, and can only present more information and options.

Workers' compensation is designed to help employees who are hurt at work. Workers' comp cases can be denied as a result of numerous factors, including status as a contractor and a doctor's refusal to find the injury to be disabling. If a worker has applied for workers' comp and was denied, seeking legal representation to appeal the decision and try to find out why the case was denied.

Source: Risk and Insurance, "The Age Trap," Peter Rousmaniere, Nov. 1, 2012

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