The workforce is getting older. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the rate of workers age 55 and up in the labor pool has gone up in recent decades – and will continue to climb.

The changing faces at the conference table mean employers must take a hard look at their policies and procedures – especially those that relate to workers’ compensation and other claims. Thanks to normal aging, older workers are at higher risk for chronic diseases, take more time to recover and face other age-related setbacks.

How can employers help? Through innovative programs. Here are six options. Read more in our recent article at Property Casualty 360.

Launch wellness programs and encourage participation. Make sure they address the needs of your older workers and encourage healthy lifestyles.

Offer ongoing workplace physicals. If health issues crop up, an employer may be able to make changes to job duties.

Project costs based on an older worker’s ability to recover. Keep in mind that older workers may take more time to heal from a surgery or setback and could need extra therapy.

Create a committee to discuss all older workers’ claims early on. Quick referrals to the right medical doctor, along with more regular follow ups, may be in order.

Evaluate potentially protracted losses. This depends on the job, but they need to be done early by nurses at a local clinic or through case management.

Let them mentor: If older workers can’t physically get back to work, consider letting them take a leadership or mentoring role, which could reduce loss time and worker’s compensation payments.

After all, older workers bring much more than achy backs to the job. They offer a wealth of experience and knowledge and are playing big roles in today’s offices and job sites.