Older workers are critical to the workforce. Their experience and breadth of knowledge cannot be quantified or pushed aside. No matter how technologically savvy millennials might be, they have nothing on the older generation of baby boomers. Therefore, it makes sense that any worker who is considered an older worker – we are talking about employees older than 40 years – be provided for and protected in the workplace.
So, an essential element in promoting peak performance among older workers is matching the job description to their skillset. Usually, many older workers already have years of experience working at that particular task. Make sure that they are appropriately matched to their job skills and learn from them in the process. However, with old age comes increased fragility. Therefore, every company that has a considerable number of older worker employees must have safety measures and precautions in place. These precautions include the following:
Attention to Wet Floors
ALWAYS make sure that there are no wet floors particularly in the factory or in a highly frequented area in the office. Older people are more likely to slip on the wet floors and get injured in the process because they are usually in supervisory roles, which means they might be engrossed with more important things. This concentrated focus may not allow them spot the spills in time to avoid it.
A younger worker might take a big fall and just get up with little or no injuries whatsoever. An older worker? Not so much. Also, you need to take into consideration the fact that the recovery time following an injury for an older worker is usually longer than for younger workers. So, as much as possible, eliminate all sources of slippery and wet floors. If the spillage cannot be attended to immediately for whatever reasons, there should be a bold sign placed a few meters away from the scene indicating that there’s some wetness ahead.
Minimize Workplace Hazards
It is important to give some consideration to the fact that what minimally affects younger workers, may affect the older works exponentially. For instance, younger workers can tolerate certain noise levels that older folks cannot. Same goes for climbing high altitudes. An older worker may not be able to climb a ladder while a younger worker will be able to. This brings us to the point of assigning matching tasks. Such hard or rigorous routines and job descriptions might not be ideal for them. Instead, assign them to supervisory roles where their job knowledge and experience will be more useful.
Encourage Inter-Level Interactions
The fact is that both younger and older workers can have a mutually beneficial interaction and knowledge sharing. For instance, older workers can bring all their years of knowledge and experience on the job to the table and teach that to the younger workers while the younger workers can guide and help them get familiar with modern day technology. Promoting and encouraging this will ultimately result in a more dynamic, knowledgeable and balanced workforce, which ultimately leads to better productions and service delivery.
Have Supervisors Trained for Older Workforce Risks
A well-trained supervisor will know that there's an enormous difference between tasks that can be successfully handled by an older worker and that which can be handled by a younger worker. So, if your supervisors have not had training, get them some safety training that's particularly concentrated on older workers. That way, they'll be in a much better position to address older worker issues and promptly resolve them.
Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Older and Younger Workers
As a rule, you should always provide personal protective equipment for all your workers – both older and younger. This is a general safety practice that can make the difference between high injury and fatality rate and a lower or even non-existent one. Equip them with boots, ear mufflers, eye goggles, gloves, protective coveralls and every protection option that's available to you.
Disclosure: I did not write this post it was written by a guest blogger, I only post about products and topics I support and believe in. Your experience may be different than mine.