A new drive to help employers keep Europe’s ageing workforce safe and healthy is being backed by the British Safety Council.
The Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign is being spearheaded by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).
It aims to put risk prevention at the heart of efforts to help both employers and workers manage occupational safety and health in relation to an ageing workforce.
‘Firms will have to retain older workers’
Following its Brussels launch, the British Safety Council is urging UK employers to join the initiative.
Its chief executive, Mike Robinson, says as the official retirement age increases the next 20 years will see an increasing number of firms having to retain older workers in order to remain competitive.
But lengthening people’s working lives, he adds, will result in them being exposed to work-related health and safety risks for longer.
Older people, Mr Robinson says, can be more vulnerable to certain types of workplace accidents and hazards – particularly those in industrial sectors – increasing the importance of age-sensitive risk assessments in firms’ occupational health and safety policies.
‘Age-friendly environments needed’
Managing disability prevention, return to work policies and rehabilitation will also become increasingly important, he adds.
Iris Cepero is editor of Safety Management, the council’s monthly publication. She says employers can only create a motivated workforce of all ages by providing “age-friendly” working environments.
By 2030 it predicted that 30% or more of the workforce in many EU countries will be aged over 55. In Britain almost a quarter (23%) of the workforce is aged 60 and above, a proportion that is forecast to rise to 30.7% by the end of the decade.
Source: British Safety Council
Date Published: May 2, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown