We can see with some very rudimentary analysis that the population is ageing. This has been driven a lot by the baby boomer generation, which is now creating something of a demographic pinch point as we are seeing in the realm of health and social care.
As well as the general macro trend, there is an interesting sub-trend that you need to be aware of which is particularly relevant in the field of attritional accidents and claims, from slips and trips to manual handling.
Yes, people are healthier for longer in life but consequently they’re staying more active. That could be that they’re active in leisure, or it could be that they’re active from the perspective of working into their 70’s. Both of these will see greater numbers of people therefore, visiting shopping centres, leisure facilities, going on holidays, being an office buildings, etc at an advancing age.
Whilst typically a more active person is healthier and this may have some mitigation against them suffering an accident, what’s undeniable is that the older you are, the more susceptible you are to a serious injury in the event of an accident.
So whilst an 18 year old, a 40 year old and a 65 year old might all slip over in the same place in exactly the same way, it could be that the 18 year old suffers no injuries, the 40 year old might have a slight injury, whereas the 65 year old might have a very serious injury. Bones are more brittle and more likely to break at 65 than at 40 and significantly so than at 18.
This means that firstly, you’re likely to have more serious injuries up-front, but secondly, because of age, the rehabilitation process will also take much longer and therefore the overall cost of claims is likely to be higher if you have a more elderly person as the claimant.
Businesses need to be aware that this demographic wave is coming from a high frequency attritional accident and claims perspective. We’re going to see greater numbers of people of a higher age getting injured, at a higher cost, and this will further drive up claims costs.
Consider users of your buildings when putting together your risk assessments, particularly in the space of slips, trips, manual handling and similar attritional accident types. Looking at this from the perspective of an ageing customer base and workforce may throw up intricacies that you’d not considered before. Driving a safer environment for an ageing population needs to be on your to do list.