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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Interventions required to keep ageing workforce safe

Interventions required to keep ageing workforce safe
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New Zealand

With the burden of work-related injuries in older employees only set to increase, more needs to be done to keep them safe, a University of Otago study has found.

The number of older workers in the workforce is predicted to double by 2036, which could result in escalated costs to the ACC injury rehabilitation and compensation scheme.

“Employers and policy makers need to consider the impact of work activities on older workers while continuing to value their productivity,’’ says Associate Professor Chrys Jaye of the University’s Department of General Practice and Rural Health.

Employers need to work to make workplaces as safe and hazard free as possible.

“This means taking into account risks related to age-related impairments such as declining vision, hearing, physical capacity and balance. This might include re-designing workplaces to meet the needs of older workers, and worker training and health promotion in the workplace.”

Jaye says a workplace that is safer for older workers is likely to be safer for all workers.

The study, published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, found older workers represented a significant burden on ACC with just over one in five accepted claims for all traumatic work injuries being made by workers aged 55–79 years, from 2009 to 2013.

Overall, 70 to 79-year-olds had the highest rate of work injury entitlement claims, and the highest percentage (five percent) of fatal injury, among 55 to 79-year-olds.

Regardless of age, the highest claim rates were for males. Claim rates for both males and females rose steadily with increasing age, and were highest for the oldest group of workers aged between 70 and 79 years.

The researchers believe factors behind the increased rate of injury include the decline of physical and cognitive function with age, workplace safety culture of those employing older workers, the self-perception of invulnerability of older workers, underestimation of risk when overly familiar with a hazard, and age-related job segregation leading to different job hazard exposures.

University of Otago press release.

Radio NZ story with a Grey Power perspective.



People Mentioned:
Associate Professor Chrys Jaye
Organisations Mentioned:
University of Otago; ACC
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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