Aging Workforce? 10 Ways To Keep Employees Safe
The demographics of the Canadian workforce has changed and multiple generations find themselves working together. Many business leaders recognize the value of older, experienced workers and are encouraging would-be retirees to continue working in consultant, part-time or full-time positions.
According to a recent article in The Globe And Mail, “employing older people raises myriad concerns, from determining whether they can competently do the work and re-engineering workplaces to accommodate physical limitations they may have to sorting out how to offer flexible hours and partial pensions to seniors in senior positions.” 1 “Companies, meanwhile, must meet the special needs of older staff, with flexible scheduling, ergonomic work stations and aids for those with agility, mobility, sight and hearing problems.” 2
Related Matters: Greying work force will challenge corporate leaders
With many employees continuing to work well past their expected retirement age, there is a growing concern for the safety of aging workforce employees while on the job. Recognizing and addressing the challenges that are unique to aging workforce staff members can help you to ensure safety in your workplace.
The following tips can help you promote health and safety for workers of all generations.
- Encourage all employees to participate in an exercise program can potentially reduce the risk of experiencing an injury on the job.
- Rotate work assignments so that aging workforce employees have less exposure to repetitive motion risks. Rotating routines periodically can also improve employee morale by avoiding boredom.
- If possible, eliminate heavy lifts, long reaches and elevated work on ladders.
- Facility maintenance helps ensure a safe work environment. Poorly guarded machinery or other office equipment with makeshift repairs can result in injuries, especially for aging employees.
- A job safety analysis and an ergonomic assessment can be used to identify possible improvements to a work environment. These tools can identify potential hazards and determine the safest way to perform a job.
- Falls alone are responsible for more than one-third of all injuries for workers 65 and older. Because of this, prioritizing slip and fall prevention at the workplace is very important. Installing skid-resistant material for flooring and stairs is a great step.
- Design work floors and platforms with smooth and solid decking that still allows for some cushioning.
- There is a connection between increased healing time and age, so in the event that one of your aging workforce employees does get injured, remember that it may take the employee longer to heal than a younger worker.
- Improve lighting and colour contrast around the workplace, as vision is typically compromised with age.
- Ultimately, make safety a priority. Senior management must be visible in the safety effort and must support improvement.
Risk Management And An Aging Workforce
Worker safety – especially for an aging workforce population – is a concern for all Canadian employers. An ALIGNED Advocate can provide more information about how you can reduce risks and increase safety in your workplace.
Talk to one of our advocates today about how we can help you secure the best products, services and insurance solutions for your business.
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Sources: 1, 2 The Globe And Mail © 2012 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.