British Safety Council supports Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign
The European workforce is ageing fast, and it's affecting the construction industry. By 2030, employees aged over 55 are expected to make up 30 percent or more of the total workforce in a lot of EU countries. In the UK, 30 percent or more of the total workforce is already over 50, while 60+ employees constitute 23 percent. This figure is set to rise to 30.7 percent by 2020.
This demographic trend creates significant challenges and opportunities for both employers and their workforces. Thus, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has launched the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign this month. It is set to alert European employers to the urgency of the situation and the need to respond in a positive way.
The aims of the 2016-2017 Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign are:
promotion of sustainable work and healthy ageing and the importance of risk prevention throughout working life;
assisting employers and workers of all ages by providing information and tools for managing occupational safety and health (OSH) in the context of an ageing workforce, and
facilitation of information and good practice exchange in this area.
Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, said: “The official retirement age in EU Member States is increasing. In the next two decades, a large proportion of employees over 50 will leave work for ever, taking their market expertise, professional experience and skills with them. Meanwhile the demographic data suggests that there is unlikely to be a sufficient supply of younger people in Britain who would replace retiring workers. These facts cannot be ignored by any employer.
“Retaining older workers will become not only an economic but also a social imperative. The companies that would be prepared to retain older employees will remain more competitive and diverse, with a greater pool of skills and talent. However, longer working lives would mean greater exposure to a variety of health-related risks. The management of issues such as disability prevention, rehabilitation and return to work will increase in importance. Older workers are also more vulnerable to certain hazards, particularly in an industrial work environment. Therefore, the introduction of specific measures to ensure work safety and the efficiency of older employees, as well as age-sensitive risk assessments, would have to become a key part of occupational health and safety policies.”