While overall rates of workplace injuries and deaths have decreased over the last five years (according to a story in the U.S. News & World Report), the number of workplace deaths for older workers has increased. This disturbing trend has a lot to do with the aging workforce in the industrial sector and the failures of many companies to address this issue and make the workplace safer for older workers.

Explosion accidents, in particular, can have devastating effects on elderly workers. The U.S. News & World report story highlights the fact that “older workers were involved in about 1 in 4 fatal workplace accidents related to fires and explosions from 2011 to 2015.” These elderly workers may be unable to quickly avoid and escape such violent accidents, and may not be healthy enough to withstand the force of the blast if they are caught in a tragic event like an explosion on the job.

In Texas, in particular, the fatality rate for older workers was 43 percent higher than the accident rate for all other workers examined in the study. Overall, the fatality rate for older workers registered at 6.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in the state. When faced with these numbers, it is reasonable to assume that factories, plants, and other hazardous workplaces across the state have failed to implement the proper safety protocols and training to prevent unnecessary deaths among their older workers.

The story also highlights an explosion accident at the Bryan Texas Utilities Power Plant that resulted in the death of a 60-year-old worker, Earle Robinson. The explosion occurred at the power plant (located about 100 miles north of Houston) and caused serious burns to the elderly worker, which later resulted in his tragic passing at a Houston area hospital. While there was no immediate word about whether the victim’s family considered hiring an explosion accident attorney in Houston to handle a civil claim, the National Center for Productive Aging and Work is spearheading initiatives to make the workplace safer for aging workers.

A part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the NCPAW has partnered with industries, labor and trade associations, and other professional organizations to help push advancements in safety, health, and the overall well-being of America’s aging workforce. By emphasizing safety and awareness of the unique challenges that elderly workers face, they hope to make strong inroads with the most dangerous industries like oil and gas, manufacturing, drilling, and other professions that may expose their employees to serious accidents like workplace explosions.

While it may be too late for families like the Robinson family, we hope that these initiatives may make a difference for other families of older workers. As America’s workforce continues to grow older (especially in the industrial sectors), we need to make safety a major focus to prevent avoidable injuries and death. To learn more about this, we encourage you to read the full story on the U.S. News & World Report linked above and visit the website of the National Center for Productive Aging and Work to learn more about their latest initiatives.

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