The elevated fatality rates among older workers are more striking if full- and part-time status is considered. In 1990, workers aged 65 and older in non-agricultural industries worked an average of 29 hours a week, whereas workers aged 20 to 64 worked an average of 37-41 hours a week (BLS, 1991). If decreased exposure time were taken into account, the result could be higher fatality rates than those reported here (Jenkins et al., 1993). Conversely, older workers may be undercounted in employment data, which would result in lower fatality rates (Jenkins et al., 1993). Studies have shown that results of injuries are more severe among older workers. Older workers may be more likely to experience injuries that result in death or permanent disability (Doering et al., 1983). Other researchers have associated increased mortality among older patients with complications and infections (Schiller et al., 1995; DeMaria et al,. 1987) and pre-existing diseases and medication side effects (Rossignol, 1994). Persons charged with workplace safety will be responsible for training and accommodating vastly greater numbers of older workers. As the workforce ages (Fullerton, 1991) and the number of older persons remaining in or re -entering the labor force to work part-time, continues to increase (Quinn and Burkhauser, 1994), it will become increasingly important to adapt work practices and settings to effectively protect older workers from fatal injuries.
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