Background: Age may affect one’s susceptibility to the myriad physical hazards that may pose risks for work-related injuries. Aging workers are not only at risk for work-related injuries but, also, at even higher risk for more severe health and work-related consequences. However, limited longitudinal research efforts have focused on such injuries among the aging workforce. This study aimed to investigate the association between physical work-related factors and injuries among United States (U.S.) workers, and then compare the injured and uninjured workers with regard to consequences including, functional limitations, and reduced working hours post injury. A cohort of 7212 U.S. workers aged 50 years and above from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study were retrospectively followed from 2004 to 2014. Data on exposures were lagged by one survey wave prior to the outcome of work-related injuries and consequences, respectively. Crude and adjusted incident rate ratios, and hazard ratios were estimated using generalized estimating equations and Cox models. Results: Risk of experiencing a work-related injury event was over two times greater among those whose job had work requirements for physical effort, lifting heavy loads, and stooping/kneeling/crouching, compared to those who did not. Over time, injured compared to uninjured workers had higher risks of functional limitations and working reduced hours. Conclusions: The aging workforce is at a high risk of experiencing injuries. Further, injured adults were not only more likely to incur a disability prohibiting daily life-related activities, over time, but, also, were more likely to work reduced hours. It will be important to consider accommodations to minimize functional limitations that may impair resulting productivity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was funded by the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (MCOHS), Education and Research Center, Pilot Projects Research Training Program, supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (OH008434). The contents of this effort are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or other associated entities.
- Aging workers
- Functional limitations
- Health retirement study
- Occupational injuries
- Physical work requirements
- Work status changes