Whether you’re in HR, the WHS officer, a manager/supervisor or a worker, our ageing workforce impacts you. It’s one of the biggest issues facing Australia today, and requires targeted management.
A large percentage of the Australian workforce are over 65. They bring extremely valuable knowledge and experience to the workplace, however they also face age-specific OHS concerns. These need to be address by adjusting organisational practices, adopting new technologies and assisting with work demands.
1. Decreased joint mobility and reduced tissue elasticity;
• avoid jobs that require/have sustained or awkward postures;
• position objects and controls to minimise prolonged flexing, bending and stooping;
• adjust furniture to body shapes and sizes;
• design machinery seats to reduce vibration.
2. Loss of strength;
• avoid tasks that require high strength – lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or rapid lifting;
• design tasks so that lifting is kept close to the body (minimise bending and stooping);
• provide sufficient breaks between tasks;
• teach workers safe lifting, pulling and pushing;
• reduce weight of objects lifted.
3. Reduced physical functional capacity;
• assign jobs requiring less energy expenditure
4. Slower perception and decision making; attention and memory deficits;
• provide longer training sessions, practice with written instructions, video tapes of desired performance, increase signal to noise ratio;
• assign work which is previewed rather than reacted to, tasks that are predictable rather than novel.
5. Visual deficits, acuity, colour discrimination;
• provide more illumination, increase contrast on control panels, writing on labels, size of display letters and symbols, reduce glare, place important signs at eye level;
• avoid, where possible, blue/green discrimination.
If you would like more information about managing ergonomic and WHS issues with an ageing workforce, give us a call on 03 9376 1844 for an obligation free discussion.