How to Keep Older Workers Safe at Your Workplace
Older employees tend to experience fewer injuries than younger workers in the workplace because they’re more cautious and experienced. But accidents tend to be more fatal on older workers than their younger colleagues. Therefore, employers need to be more mindful in enhancing the safety of older employees against on-the-job hazards. Below is a list of beneficial and cost-effective recommendations to help keep your ageing employees safe and healthy. Please read on.
- Manage Hazards Properly
When assessing hazards at your workplace, it’s imperative that you consider whether the conditions deemed safe for younger workers could pose problems for older employees. For example, noisy environments may not be a problem to a 30-year-old, but old workers might have difficulty hearing in the same setting. They would, therefore, find it challenging communicating about risks and other issues. Ensure to manage all physical hazards such as slip/trip hazards to keep your older workforce safe. You should use the hierarchy of controls to eliminate or minimise exposure to occupational hazards in the workplace.
- Match Tasks to Their Abilities
It is common for older workers to have physical limitations. If this is the case in your workplace, you should consider assigning them to projects that do not force them to strain beyond their ability. Use self-directed rest breaks, self-paced work, and less-repetitive tasks as much as possible. You should also provide lifestyle and health promotion interventions such as healthy meal options, physical activities, risk-factor reductions, onsite medical care, coaching, screening, and tobacco cessation assistance.
- Consider Ergonomics
Ergonomics are very important, especially with older workers. You need to design a work environment that addresses ergonomic concerns. Ensure to include ergonomic workstations, screens and surfaces that produce very minimum glare, adjustable seating, and proper illumination where necessary. You should also avoid prolonged sedentary work. If the workers are expected to sit all day, consider walking and sit/stand workstations. Consider providing onsite physical activity connections and opportunities to low-cost community options, as well. Consider purchasing equipment designed and manufactured to meet the health and safety standards, such as the CE marked fabrications, to ensure maximum safety of your workers when using the products.
- Invest in Training
Older workers are perhaps the most experienced workers in the workplace. However, with the current advances in technology, the older workforce might not be conversant with most of the latest inventions and processes. Ensure to provide proper training to bring them on the same page and ensure they’re doing everything right. You should also encourage your employees to learn from one another. Younger employees can teach older workers how to use and adapt to new processes and technologies. Use teamwork strategies to solve most of the ageing-associated problems at all age levels.
- Train Your Supervisors
Older employees should not be treated the same way as younger employees. You should train your supervisors on the issues affecting the ageing workforce and how to address them properly. In your training, educate the supervisors on the most effective methods of managing a multigenerational workplace properly.
- Proactively Manage Reasonable Accommodations
You need to make reasonable adjustments to your processes and programs to accommodate the older workforce in your workplace. Ensure they have flexible working shifts and enough hours to rest before their next shift. Give the employees a say in their work conditions, schedule, work tasks, and work locations. This also includes the return-to-work process following the worker’s illness or injury-related absence.