only six weeks to go until the European Health and Safety Week 2016, with the
theme this year of: “Healthy Workplaces for all Ages.” Further information
about the event can be found here,
but as we count down each passing week, we’ll take a brief look at one of the
relevant topical issues.
week we’re considering the ageing workforce.
the term ‘ageing workforce’ is often used, in reality we are all ageing, and
throughout our working lives our bodies undergo numerous changes. In many cases
these changes are not significant; or are more than made up for by other
positive attributes such as greater experience, improved judgement, and more job
employers must consider these changes when managing the health and safety of
their staff. UNISON’s guide, “The Ageing Workforce” advises branches on how they
can work with employers to ensure they meet these responsibilities in a fair and
non-discriminatory manner. Employers will also need to do more to adapt work to
the changing needs of employees if the desire of successive governments to
increase the employment rates among older workers is to be achieved.
should carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments of the hazards their
employees may be exposed to at work, and should consider any particularly
vulnerable groups. They must not discriminate against workers because of
(unless that there is an objective justification where such treatment is
proportionate to a legitimate aim), or
(which therefore requires an employer to make reasonable
can safety reps do?
sure sickness absence polices recognise that older workers may take more time off
for chronic health problems (but are less likely to have frequent short term
as a reasonable adjustment, that time off work due to disability is managed
separately to sick leave.
due to changing capabilities, job tasks or demands need to be altered or even a
complete redeployment is required, make sure this is handled sensitively and
with the worker's agreement.
that reasonable adjustments are made to the working environment.
sure that relevant risk assessments, policies, procedures, and adjustments are
gender and age neutral, and consider those who may be particularly vulnerable
due to their age.
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