Preventing On-the-Job Injuries Among Aging Workers
America’s workforce is becoming increasingly diverse, with a greater share of laborers now considered senior citizens. Whether it’s due to a weak economy and minimal retirement savings or simply enjoyment of one’s work, aging Americans are working longer than ever before. This means that employers must be cognizant of increased injury risks and protect workers from unnecessary harm.
Find out what it takes to prevent aging worker injuries and how that may look in the workplace. For help with a workers’ compensation claim or retaliation, call Thiry & Caddell at 251-478-8880.
Consider Both One-Time Accidents and Wear and Tear Injuries
When adjusting safety protocols and procedures, remember to think about both workplace accidents and repetitive use injuries. Aging workers are at greater risk of both, due to decreased muscular strength, balance concerns, and higher rates of various health concerns. While you want to protect workers from avoidable accidents, you also want to limit the amount of repetitive stress they experience in their day-to-day work.
Collaborate With Workers to Understand Their Needs
Outside experts and analysts can certainly come up with a range of practical and effective workplace safety solutions. However, don’t forget to listen to those who are actually on the floor doing the work every day. They often have insight that higher-ups simply do not think about. Workplace surveys, round tables, and brainstorming sessions are all excellent for identifying safety concerns in the workplace and developing solutions that consider the needs of vulnerable employees.
Regularly Revisit Assigned Tasks and Workers’ Abilities
Just because your work distribution and quotas have worked for years does not mean that they will work forever. Rather than always putting the onus on workers to bring up their concerns and limitations, make it a priority to reevaluate task assignments and workloads on a regular basis. This allows you to catch potential problems early and make necessary changes.
It’s also important because relying solely on worker input is not a reliable option. Some employees will never bring up their concerns, no matter how serious, because they worry about losing their jobs.
Schedule Hazard Checks
Ensuring that workers have a safe work environment is always a good use of time and energy. Schedule routine checks of the entire workplace, looking especially at machinery and workstations that have a higher likelihood of injuring a worker. By checking out the workplace on a set schedule, rather than doing so only when something is wrong, you may be able to identify repair and upgrade needs before they lead to an injury.
Rely Less on One-Person Jobs
When possible, shift workflows to prioritize group or teamwork rather than individual work. This helps older workers avoid the pressure to push themselves past their limits and risk injury.
This does have to be handled carefully, though. Otherwise, you risk faster or more efficient workers feeling taken advantage of when their teammates aren’t as fast as them. The goal is to have reasonable and achievable standards for each employee, rather than enforcing across-the-board standards that simply aren’t manageable for some workers.
Prioritize Safe Workplace Protocols
Making the workplace safer across the board also makes everything safer for aging employees. There is always research being conducted in the area of workplace safety, so make it a priority to stay up-to-date on safety research in your industry.
If there are new recommended protocols or tools you can use to make the workplace better for employees, consider implementing them. Some workplaces will not even try to implement new safety strategies because of the learning curve and the time it takes to get back up to speed. However, time invested in safety now can save even more time down the road when you have fewer worker injuries.
Choose Thiry & Caddell for Your Workplace Injury Claim
If you or someone you love has been injured at work, it may be time for a workers’ compensation claim. An attorney can help if your claim has been denied or if your employer is refusing to file a claim on your behalf. Set up a consultation with Thiry & Caddell now by calling us at 251-478-8880 or sending us a quick message online.
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