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European Week for Safety and Health in the workplace - 2017

Posted By Stephanie Hancox on 2017-10-23 09:01

With an estimated 30% of the European workforce estimated at being between the ages of 55-64 by 2030, This year's theme is to raise awareness of our ageing workforce and how we can better ensure their safety within the workplace. 

So why is there a predicted increase in an ageing work population?

A number of factors can be named responsible for the increase in our
ageing working population from:
 
the removal of the default retirement age; (Currently the Penson age is 60 for women and 65  for men with women's pension age set to fall in line with men's in the near future. Plans are already underway for the overall pension age to rise to 66 by October 2020, increase to 67 between 2026-28.)
 
Along with a rapid increase in life expectancy, with the development of new treatments and medications, many factors which caused a shorter lifespan previously have little effect in today's world.
 

The employers' duty?

Although there is an ageing working population, many employers see older workers as unfit to work due to 'myths' that they are unable to complete tasks given to them at the same high standard and rate as younger employees....However...

 "That instead of being unfit to work due to ageing and ill health, 62 percent of over 50s describe themselves as feeling as fit as ever, with structural and (other people’s) attitudinal barriers thwarting their ability to stay involved.

   Those key elements of cognitive performance important for workplace health and safety, such as intelligence, knowledge, and use of language, do not generally show any marked decrease until after the age of 70.

   Where a decline in cognitive abilities such as working memory and reaction time does occur, there is evidence that safe performance of tasks is unlikely to be affected, as older individuals can generally compensate for them with experience, better judgement and job knowledge. "

The employers' responsibility...                                                                    

Employers have a duty of care to all employees  and a good Occupational Health program that's enforced can bring many significant benefits (See our blog on the importance of occupational health here ) , however more thought and a more solid program may need to be put in place to ensure the health and safety of older employees who are more likely to be vulnerable to certain health and safety hazards within the workplace. 

Here at Healthscreen, we offer many services which include guidance in writing a solid Health and Safety program, For more information on our services please see the link below. 

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Sources of information 

http://www.hse.gov.uk/vulnerable-workers/older-workers.htm

https://healthy-workplaces.eu/en/what-issue