Managing the Challenges of the Workforce Part 1 – Aging Workers

Posted: April 6, 2013 in Blog Posts
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ImageIn Today’s economy, many workplaces are faced with their demographics nearing retirement.  This presents many challenges and opportunities to investigate potential safety and health concerns and look for ways to keep the aging workforce healthy and engaged.

The six benefits are:

  • · Huge knowledge base of direct and indirect required job skills
  • · Developed sound workplace wisdom and people skills
  • · Ability to support a calm work environment due to respect of his/her coworkers
  • · Skilled ability to train, supervise and mentor, younger coworkers
  • · Experience based approach to problem solving
  • · Loyalty and a sound work ethic

 Developing mentor programs for your workforce to share their skills with newer employees allows for  engagement at all levels and provides pride of leadership for their colleagues. It gives them an opportunity to leave a legacy of their knowledge and wisdom to the future generation.

Workplace adjustments:

There are however some modifications to be made to adjust some workplaces for aging employees, who have different requirements than their younger colleagues.

  • · Their senses deteriorate and reflexes slow down
  • · Flexibility and range of motion shrinks
  • · Thinning Bones and shrinking muscles
  • · Flexibility shrinks

 Preventive measures and aging employee friendly workplaces can easily be done without expensive engineering upgrades.

  • · Worker-friendly scheduling
  • · Reduce noise
  • · Proper lighting
  • · High contrast paint
  • · Proper Ergonomics and if possible change packaging to adjust weight
  • · Minor equipment enhancements

 Employers could motivate his employees to implement a healthier life style. This does not only benefit again employees. An employer can introduce a company wellness program:

  • · Gym membership
  • · Company arranged classes in:

Nutrition and Weight control

Stress management

Moderate exercise

Smoking Cessation

Employee Assistance Program ( changing needs such as taking care of elderly parents, financial planning and retirement concerns)

Identifying these challenges in your workforce can help your organization and your employees remain safe and healthy for the future. 

What are your thoughts?

This article was written after thoughtful and insightful discussions with safety colleagues. Thank you.

  1. Great Article Theresa,
    An aging workforce…on of our biggest assets, IMO!
    Wilfried Lehmkuhler, CHSC

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