Europe’s ageing population is creating a workforce that is more at risk of a number of illnesses and conditions, according to EU-OSHA’s analysis report on rehabilitation and returning to work.
Chronic conditions like musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), cardiovascular disease and mental health issues currently affect around one in three older workers, compared with just 15% of younger workers.
Working past 60 not an option for many
More than one in five (22%) workers over 50 say they won’t be able to continue in their current role when they turn 60, the 2015 European Working Conditions Survey by Eurofound has claimed.
Worryingly, figures from the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (suggest a third of employers don’t have a suitable procedure to support the return to work of workers following long-term sick leave.
The impact of such chronic diseases is forcing employers to improve their sickness absence management systems. With a few simple adjustments, many of the conditions can either be prevented or better managed.
Prevention the best cure
Prevention of the conditions, following by intervention, has proved to be an effective strategy for retaining workers.
Companies are also bringing in rehabilitation and return-to-work measures to help employees come back to work as soon as possible after a period of sick leave.
This has been proved to speed up recovery. It can also reduce the chance that an older worker might be excluded from the labour market before they reach retirement age.
Occupational health services and financial support for employers – enabling them to introduce workplace adaptations – are also key.
Date Published: February 1, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown