Workplace equipment supplier, Slingsby, has seen demand increasing for health and safety products that specifically appeal to an aging workforce in recent years and it’s an area that’s set to continue growing, with recent figures revealing the number of pensioners with jobs has smashed through the one million barrier.
,According to research from the Office for National Statistics, the number of over-65s in work is now at the highest level since records began in 1992, with almost one in 10 people in this age group now employed. Of those, 615,000 are men and 388,000 women.
,In recent years Slingsby, which sells more than 35,000 workplace products to all industries, has seen customers increasingly ordering products to make life easier for older workers, such as specialist handling equipment that requires very little effort from the operator.
,Lee Wright, marketing director at Slingsby, explained: “Life expectancy has increased significantly in recent decades and now there is no longer an official retirement age, it’s no surprise that the UK has an aging workforce.
,”It’s likely that some people don’t want to retire because they enjoy their jobs and going to work keeps them busy, or they enjoy the social interaction, so it’s a positive choice. Others might carry on working because they can’t afford to give up work and retire. In addition, the state pension age is increasing and by 2020, it will be 66 for both men and women and then 67 by 2028, so an aging workforce is a trend that will definitely continue.
,”There is a common misconception that age limits a persons’ ability to work effectively but generally this isn’t the case and any loss of speed, or other similar skills, will usually be compensated in other areas.”
,According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) the distribution of older workers is similar across all sectors. Figures from the HSE also reveal that rates of workplace injuries are higher in young men, aged between 16 and 24, than in older men, even after allowing for occupations.
,Slingsby has compiled a list of key considerations for employers that will help to promote a healthy work environment and are especially relevant to employers with an older workforce:
,• Carry out risk assessments routinely, not just when an employee reaches a certain age.
,• For manual job roles, encourage employees to stretch before a shift.
,• Where relevant, incorporate tasks into workstations that require the employee to change positions frequently.
,• Design workstations so that arms remain below shoulder level and avoid repetitive motions that require workers to reach above their head.
,• Try to reduce the amount of physical force that older workers need to exert in manual handling operations.
,• Restrict maximum loads that older workers are required to lift or introduce equipment to ease the process.
,• Offer job sharing or part-time schedules for older workers.
,• Don’t immediately assume that certain jobs are too demanding for older workers. Decisions should be based on capability and objective risk rather than age.
,• Persuade staff to take an interest in their health and fitness.