Safety and Health Among Older Construction Workers in the United States

Wednesday March 20, 2019 at 11:00 AM PT, 2:00 PM ET

The labor force in the United States is rapidly growing older. Older workers are more vulnerable to risks at worksites due to possible declining cognitive and physical abilities with age. Therefore, this trend of an aging workforce is a significant challenge for occupational safety and health as well as public health.

To better understand the aging workforce, this presentation will provide information on the trends of an aging workforce, how work affects work-related injuries and illnesses for different age groups, and how health status and work limitations are changing during the aging process. Multiple national data sources in the U.S. were analyzed for this study. While this presentation focuses on construction workers, the analyses include workers in all industries as comparison.

You will learn

  • How age affects the safety and health of workers
  • Patterns of fatal and nonfatal occupational injuries among older workers
  • Health conditions and risk factors among older workers
  • National data sources for safety and health research in the U.S.

Take-home messages

  • ​​The average age of construction workers reached 42.5 in 2016, exceeding the average age of all U.S. workers, and about 6.3 years older than it was in 1986.
  • The rate of fatal injuries for workers aged 55+ years doubled that for workers younger than 35 years old.
  • Construction workers aged 45-64 required 23 days or more out of work to recover after injury compared to 7 days off for injured workers younger than 25 years old.

construction workers

Hosted by

Xiuwen Sue Dong

Xiuwen Sue Dong​, DrPH

Data Centre Director CPWR, The Center for Construction Reasearch and Training
Xiuwen Sue Dong is Data Center Director for the Center for Construction Research and Training located in Silver Spring, Maryland. She has conducted occupational safety and health research, focusing on the construction industry. She is the author of numerous publications, including articles related to back pain in the workplace. Currently, she serves as PI for three projects funded by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. She has a Doctoral degree in Public Health and a master’s degree in Economics.

Q&A Discussant

Catherine Brookman

Catherine Brookman, PhD

Associate Director, Knowledge Transfer and Exchange, Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders​

Presentation Partners:

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Partially funded by

This program is pre-approved by the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada (VRA Canada) for one hour training session.

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