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Occupational Health Branch

Occupational Health Watch: December 2021

Protect Older Workers from Falls this Holiday Season and Throughout the Year

U.S. retailers are expected to hire more than 500,000 seasonal workers during the holidays, many of whom will be older workers (55+). These workers are prone to more slips, trips, and falls in the workplace. 

Keeping older workers safe is essential to help prevent injuries that can sometimes lead to death. Workplace fatalities for older workers have been on the rise since 1992, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Slips, trips, and falls are the second leading cause of these fatalities. Foot caught on objects that are on the ground

Employers are encouraged to take precautions to ensure older worker safety. Older workers should be assessed by a healthcare provider for increased fall risk. Those with moderate-to-high fall risk should not work on ladders, steps, and uneven surfaces.

To protect all workers, employers must establish and enforce a safety training program that includes how to safely use ladders and identify, report, and prevent other slip, trip, and fall hazards. Because ladder use can be dangerous, safety is important – especially in wet conditions. Take safety precautions like wearing slip-resistant shoes, cleaning spills immediately, and ensuring aisles are free of clutter and other tripping hazards. 

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