In most cases, workplaces are a mixture of different age groups, sometimes from teenage employees to middle-aged, and even the aging workers. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently projected that at least 25% of the American workforce will be made of individuals aged 55 and above by 2024.
But without putting much emphasis, older people tend to be more prone to sustaining certain types of injuries from accidents such as slips and falls. This is mostly linked to physiological reasons such as poor vision, hearing loss, and a declined muscle strength, especially those of the lower body. This, consequently, means that as they age, your employees become more prone to injuries at the workplace. Especially if you’re running an LLC, it is important to take measures to increase workplace safety and reduce the risk of workplace injuries to your aging employees.
Here are some things you can do to reduce injuries among aging workers in your firm.
1. Take measures to prevent slip-and-fall injuries
As earlier mentioned, slip-and-fall injuries are the most common types of injuries among older employees. Justin Kimball from Preszler Law of Halifax explains that every year, one in three seniors will suffer injury in a fall, which causes 85% of hospitalizations in people over age 65. For this reason, one of the best measures to take in this respect is to improve the safety of the working environment in a way that reduces the risk of slipping and falling. For instance, you will want to make sure that your floors are slip-resistant and see to it that they are always kept dry. Also, getting rid of clutter and ensuring proper maintenance of sidewalks and parking lots will go a long way in improving workplace safety.
It is also important to encourage your older employees to wear the appropriate protective gear, including footwear to avoid these slips and falls. You can also consider adding handrails in walkways where necessary to provide them with extra support when walking. Especially for employees who work in areas that sometimes get wet or greasy should wear slip-resistant shoes.
2. Consider a wellness program
Another great way you can reduce or prevent injuries among your aging employees is by using wellness programs. This involves encouraging activities that improve strength, flexibility, and balance, which, in turn, will help to prevent falls, strains, and sprains. There are many different types of programs you can adapt to enhance your employee’s physical fitness. Such may include enrolling your employees into a gym, swimming pool sessions, yoga classes, and even Tai Chi lessons. Not only will they improve strength and flexibility, but these physical fitness programs can also help to promote your workers’ overall health and productivity at work. Despite the fact that it will cost you a considerable amount of money, it will be a win-win situation for your business in the long run. You can even consider construction a workout and wellness center for them if your finances allow it.
3. Assign tasks based on the job’s physical requirements
Some tasks in a job can be more physically demanding than others. This is especially true in the case of handy professions such as plumbing, construction, and even manufacturing. Especially when hiring new employees, it is highly important to ensure that only those who are physically fit for the job are picked. The assessment may involve getting their medical history along with a physical exam. In many places, there are laws that govern the use and conduction of pre-employment examinations. This makes it imperative for you to consult your legal advisor before using such a program. You don’t want an employee to end up getting injured even before they are employed, so how the physical exam is conduction is critical and should be in a way that ensures your prospective employee’s safety. Where an employee fails a physical exam due to a disability or such, it is always noble to interact with them and find a way that your organization can accommodate them without rendering them jobless.
4. Work on ergonomics
Muscle and joint soreness and fatigue are among the most common reasons people sustain injuries at work. As a matter of fact, these become more common as employees grow older. Most of them come from prolonged sitting, standing, bending, and lifting, combined with poor ergonomics. Improving ergonomics is another highly important approach to curbing workplace injuries. This may involve investing in ergonomic office equipment and furniture, eliminating manual lifting as much as possible, changing the workplace layout, introducing job rotation, and encouraging your employees to practice maintaining proper posture.
In most cases, you will find that older employees are the more experienced lot in the workforce. This makes it highly important to ensure that their risk of sustaining work-related injuries is reduced as much as possible. With the above few pointers, you can easily make injuries among aging workers a thing of the past.