Age concern health and safety

Mature Employees

Mature Employees

Age concern health and safety

A recent survey regarding Age concern health and safety of Murray- Bruce involving 100 pensioners relates that only one of them referred to himself as old and did that by saying that he was “young at heart”!

In recent years the aging population is becoming a serious issue for the western economies, where the rising of the default retirement age(DRA) is the only solution for the ability of the economy to pay the pensions. The current economic crisis has broken the dreams of many hoping for an early and stress free retirement. Statistics suggest that in UK by 2033, those over 60 will represent the third of the population. Similar is the reality for Europe and Northern America. Younger employees are cheaper for the employers in relation with the taxes paid for them and their salaries, as well as more attractive with their qualifications more up to date, but now in UK there are still more workers aged over 50 than under 25.

Age concern health and safety

Older employees are not more prone to work- related accidents, but the risk of injury is bigger as well as longer the time for recuperation. The fatality rates triple over the age of 65, with the sectors of agriculture, construction and fishing representing the highest risk for the older employee. There is the added risk of chronic work related disease which usually becomes more unbearable with aging. Loss of eyesight, hearing acuity, joints problems such as osteoarthritis, diabetes and the very quickly increasing obesity promote heart, blood vessels and nervous system problems, all are part of becoming older. And consequently the risks for the older employee at the workplace are increasing. Other issues which may affect the productivity of your business would be the way in which older workers approach problem-solving- in most cases they bring experience to bear, while a younger employee would choose a different more reasoning approach. Of course there are many situations where experience and old common sense would be the better solution for the problem. Don’t have to forget that mature workers are not a homogenous group- it is more likely that man and women would experience different problems. In recent years are observed many cases where a career change was produced in later life in order to cope with the hard economic times, which represents a high risk of developing psychological problems and severe depressions.

So, health and safety consultants need to take all possible risks into consideration in order to give the best possible advise to managers and employees of the third age group. This way the risks at the workplace would be reduced as well as the health and safety accidents and injuries.

Health promotion activities are advisable because help conserve function and sometime represent improvements in weight, blood pressure, lipid profiles, however it is not clear for how long these changes persist. Some common- sense steps has to be taken in order to reduce the decay in performance produced by the aging process- appropriate levels of lighting, suppression of possible intrusive glare, elimination of shadows, adjustments to tools, availability of lifting appliances, appropriate hearing protection. Additional training, -may some of the older employees would be reluctant to that-for the correct use of tools and machinery.

There are of course advantages of having an older employee. The majority of them are more reliable, punctual and responsible with their job than youngsters. Apart from not having family and young children burdens, which make them being more concentrated at work, in lots of occasions they could be a balancing element in the team and their voice of experience and reason could be invaluable for your business.

May be working when desired, and being an active contributing part of society would keep us “young at heart” for longer. When you stop thinking, learning and developing your brain, than you become old for sure. Fingers crossed, we all get to old age with dignity and enjoy a long and fulfilling pensioners years. A well deserved break for many…

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