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People in the United States are working past retirement age — a trend driven by both positive and negative factors.
“Some positive factors that may keep older adults in the workforce might include the less physically demanding nature of jobs today,” said James Grosch, senior research psychologist and co-director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s National Center for Productive Aging and Work. “Older adults today may be better educated and healthier than previous generations, and continuing to work can provide a sense of purpose and the opportunity to remain physically, mentally and socially active. Negative factors may include financial concerns — the change from defined benefit to defined contribution pension plans, or a need to retain health care coverage.”
According to a 2015 Rand Corp. survey, 38% of workers over age 50 move heavy loads or people at least one-quarter of the time, 72% perform repetitive hand or arm movements, 37% maintain tiring or painful positions at least one-quarter of the time, 39% maintain them almost all the time, and 29% stand almost all the time.
“Consider making job modifications to keep older workers safe, like updating job duties or modifying work hours,” said David Quezada, Los Angeles-based vice president of loss control services at Employers Holdings Inc.
Workplace safety experts are keeping an eye out for a potential rise in post-retirement injuries due to the number of retired workers taking on part-time jobs and a continued increase in the number of older employees in the U.S. workforce.