Look to the newspaper, radio, or Internet and you will find information on how our society is aging and our workforce is getting increasingly older. Mining is no stranger to this trend, and in many ways it's leading the way. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the median age for workers in the mining industry has consistently been greater than that for the U.S. civilian labor force since 1962. In 1998, the median age for the U.S. civilian labor force was 38.7 years, while that for workers in the mining industry was 41.2 years. Projections indicate that the median age will continue to rise through 2008. In addition, research suggests that a majority of workers will most likely work in some way in their retirement years, whether it is in a different job or part-time. Researchers who study social trends use the term "cohort" to refer to a group of people who have certain things, such as age, in common. Four cohorts are found in today's labor force: Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Nexters. NIOSH is conducting research to see how the characteristics associated with these cohorts may affect factors such as training, return-to-work strategies, acceptability of ergonomic interventions, and work organization. Part of this work is to analyze accident statistics to explore the relationship between the age of injured workers and their job titles, the severity of their injuries, and the types of accident they had so that effective interventions can be implemented. The analyses were based on data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration's accident and injury database for the year 2002. Employees working in five different commodities (coal, metal, nonmetal, stone, and sand and gravel) are included. Although the mining industry workforce is increasingly age-diverse, the age profiles of the various commodities are not all alike. Sorting injuries by age groups can be helpful because it can point to new training needs or identify age-related physical changes that may contribute to injury risk.
Age-factors; Age-groups; Workers; Mining-industry; Mine-workers; Training; Ergonomics; Safety-research; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Accidents; Accident-statistics; Coal-mining; Metal-mining; Nonmetal-mining; Stone-mines; Sand-and-gravel-mines; Underground-mining; Surface-mining; Lost-work-days; Materials-handling; Hazards
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236