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Not dead yet
Not dead yet
We all have different strengths and weaknesses, young and old. And properly designed work should be safe and healthy whoever is doing it. So why are older workers told they are no longer up to the job? Hazards editor Rory O’Neill spells out the measures necessary to deliver healthier workplaces for all, regardless of age.
Not dead yet
At retirement age, the great majority of us are in full working order. We are living longer, and we are healthier longer. The average person in the UK can expect almost a decade in good health after the age of 65. Work, for most, is something older workers are willing and able up to and sometimes beyond the usual retirement age. Sometimes its only prejudice that stands in the way.
A 2005 report for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) looked at “the common 'myths' about older workers and provides, where possible, evidence and arguments that aim to dispel inaccurate perceptions about older adults and demonstrate that health and safety cannot be used as an ‘excuse’ to justify the exclusion of older workers.”
‘Facts and misconceptions about age, health status and employability’(1) concludes “there is no health and safety justification to exclude older workers from the workforce. Organisations will benefit from efforts to maintain the ability to work of all employees at any age and the adoption and development of flexible retirement practices that retain older workers longer.”
But many firms are not making that effort. ‘Ready, willing and able’, an August 2006 TUC report,(2) revealed that more than a million workers from Britain’s post-war baby boom generation are struggling to find employment because of their age.
Employers are reluctant to recruit older workers or provide the necessary training and flexibility to retain those they already have despite their desire to continue working, the TUC said in its report. According to the TUC, more than a third of the 2.6 million people aged between 50 and 65 who are unemployed or economically inactive would prefer to be working. Some 250,000 said they were looking for a job while another 750,000 said they would like to have one.
The report attacks the idea that the post-war baby boomers are opting to retire early. It says only a third of those who retire early do so entirely voluntarily.
The TUC's deputy general secretary, Frances O'Grady, said: “Most
baby boomers are not retiring early to cruise round the world or go bungee
jumping. They are being dumped out of work and on to the scrapheap and
are scraping by on benefits or small work pensions.”
The government’s October 2005 ‘Health, work and well-being’ strategy (Hazards 93), includes among its objectives “working with employers to make changes in the workplace necessary to allow people to work to a later age.” It adds that among indicators of strategy success would be “people being able to work longer if they wish.”(3)
A new law barring age discrimination in the workplace law should help. Safety minister Lord Hunt said the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, which came into effect on 1 October 2006, would ensure older workers are not denied the opportunity to stay in work. He said: “Research has shown that being out of work is bad for your health, but more importantly being in work is positively good for your health. That is why the new age discrimination laws are so important.”
First findings of the European Foundation’s 2005 survey, published in November 2006, show that workers saying they believed they would be able to do the same job when 60 was at 63.5 per cent in the UK, just above the EU15 average of 61 per cent and the expanded EU25 figure of 58.9 per cent. This represents a significant slip down the rankings. The UK now trails behind Germany (73.6 per cent), The Netherlands (71.2 per cent), Sweden (69.7 per cent), Denmark (68.8 per cent) and Finland (65.2 per cent)(4).
Of the EU15 countries investigated in the previous 2000 European Working Conditions Survey, UK workers were the most likely to believe they’d be able to do the same job at 60 years of age (60.3 per cent compared to an EU15 average of 53.9 per cent). By 2005, the UK had fallen to sixth in the EU15 ranking, in the middle rather than at the head of the pack. The European Working Conditions Survey 2005 involved interviews with almost 30,000 workers in Europe, including over 1,000 in the UK.
And a September 2005 UK study by the Employers' Forum on Age found that almost half the workforce would be happy to work until they are 70, but only one in five thought they would be fit enough to do so.(5)
It is the government’s intention to see more older people in work.
Launching ‘Is work good for your health and well-being?’,
a September 2006 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) report on the
net positive impact of working on health,(6)
DWP said its welfare reforms include reducing “the number of people
who need to rely on incapacity benefits by 1 million, and help 1 million
older workers and more than 300,000 lone parents into work.”
Full working order
Just because someone is more likely to go grey, doesn’t mean they are more likely to go sick. HSE’s misconceptions report(1) notes: “Older workers do not take more time off work. Older workers have been found to show lower levels of short term/non-certified sickness absence than young workers, which is the biggest source of absence and disruption for employers… A higher risk of absence from work amongst older workers is not supported by the evidence and therefore is not a valid reason to exclude them from the workforce.”
Finland has led the way on measures to accommodate older workers through “maintaining work ability”, a project driven by the official health and safety agency. Professor Juhani Ilmarinen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) points out that regular physical exercise can keep a worker’s physical capacity “nearly unchanged” between the ages of 45 and 65. He says an older worker taking regular physical exercise is likely to be fitter than younger colleagues who have not exercised.
Ilmarinen says policies should look at ageing workers rather than older workers, starting with those as young as 45. He says: “The main reason for this ‘early’ definition of ageing among workers from the occupational health point of view is that it gives better possibility for preventive measures.”(7)
Older workers, regardless of their ability, are unfairly labelled as unsuited to changes in work, he says. “It has been often incorrectly argued that their competency is no longer sufficient and their experiences are less valid. However, the major reason has often been the uncontrolled changes that have occurred in work and the lack of adjustments urgently needed for fitting their resources to the new work demands. The common need to blame the worker should be redirected towards those responsible for planning and carrying out changes at work, who overlook the need for adjustments.”
However, the issue of disability cannot be dodged if a strategy is to increase “work ability” of older workers. This is particularly true in the UK.
TUC’s ‘Ready willing and able’ report(2) warned “of people aged between 50 and state pension age, 40-45 per cent have suffered from a health problem in the last year and poor health is the commonest reason for having left one’s job.”
It is not that older workers are not up to work. The TUC report says employment levels for men and women in the 50+ age group is higher than among 16-24 year olds. The UK has one of Europe’s highest proportions of older workers in work, trailing only Sweden and Denmark. The average age when UK workers leave the workforce is 63 years. And sickness absence rates in the UK, suggest if anything older workers are less likely to take sick leave.
But the report says: “Employment outcomes are very closely linked to disability for older people. Compared to the average for both the EU and the OECD older people in the UK are more likely to be economically inactive because of disability, and this is especially true for men in their early 60s.
“Older workers who are not disabled have very similar employment rates to non-disabled prime age workers, but there is a significant decline for older disabled people. What is more, the disadvantage faced by disabled people increases for older groups - while the employment of prime age disabled people is 71 per cent of that for their non-disabled coevals, this ratio worsens for older groups, and is just 52 per cent for those aged 60 - 64.”
Prejudice is the problem
Even where age does take a toll a person’s physical capabilities, it is prejudice and not problems that have made this an employment issue. The small deterioration expected with age is much smaller than the range of differences that exist across the entire workforce. An older worker whose eyesight and physical strength are not what they were, might still be fitter and more capable and than a day-one working teenager.
Occupational health researcher Simon Pickvance of Sheffield University told Hazards: “Much is made of how the ability to work declines with age. Physical strength, stamina, eyesight, hearing, for example, certainly do decline. But the key thing to remember is that in most cases, the average decline is by a few percentage points over the last 15 years of working life, but the range of performance amongst younger workers is much larger; looking after most young workers will also accommodate most older workers too.
“There are areas – particularly heavy manual work, especially for women over 50 – where older workers are at a special disadvantage and alternative work is essential for almost all, but there are also areas where older workers have particular advantages; more experience, more able to weigh up alternatives effectively, less likely to show signs of exhaustion, and having more commitment to the job.”
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine makes as similar point: “Although natural ageing does result in physiological change, which can affect work capacity especially in motor and visual bodily systems, cognition is not significantly impaired in the age ranges that span working life. Variation in performance within a specific age group far exceeds the change in performance associated with ageing. In addition, older workers often have accumulated experience or learning strategies that may be valuable in contributing to business success. The published literature does not support the popular misconception that work performance declines with age.”(10) It adds: In practice, despite an age related decline in physical strength, stamina, memory and information processing, this rarely impairs work performance.”
Simon Pickvance says the problem is not with the workers, but with the work practices. “Over the last 30 years older workers have been edged out of work, as employers have looked for the super-fit to work flat out for long hours. Long hours and intense work have increased in UK almost uniquely in Europe – so older workers are at a particular disadvantage in the labour market.”
HSE’s misconceptions report notes: “Declines in health or cognitive, physical or sensory functioning can be minimised, prevented or overcome by simple adjustments or personal actions; therefore, age cannot be used as a health and safety ‘excuse’ to exclude older workers from the workforce. Older workers are also quite capable of adapting to change and learning new information, but organisations may need to convince more experienced workers of the value of any changes and/or training.”
It adds “older workers should not be excluded from the workforce on the basis of health and safety, or poor productivity or functioning, rather organisations will benefit from efforts to maintain the ability to work of their workers of all ages. Furthermore, the adoption and development of flexible retirement practices that can retain older workers longer are likely to have benefits for both the organisation and individual older worker.”
Some problems, like occupational deafness, can be compounded by an age-related deterioration in function. The same is the case for osteoarthritis, resulting from general wear and tear on joints – the attrition caused by excessive manual handling could change this from aches and pains to disability.
However, noise induced hearing loss is easily preventable – and given most of us will suffer hearing loss it is something that can and should be minimised. Manual handling can, properly managed, be undertaken with no risk, just by using the correct work methods, staffing levels and lifting aids. Laws place explicit duties on employers to address these problems.
As we get older eliminating the preventable occupational component of these and other problems becomes an even more pressing concern.
Work hazards lead to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year, robbing workers of years of life and frequently quality of life in their last years.
Accident rates appear to be higher in older workers, at least according to recent figures. Workplace fatality and major injury rates for workers aged 55+ were significantly higher in both 2003/04 and 2004/05.(11)
HSE’s figures give a work fatal injury rate for men in the 55-59 age bracket of 1.7 per 100,000 workers in 2003/04, and a provisional figure for 2004/05 of 1.5. The equivalent male fatality figures for the 60-64 age band is 1.5 in 2003/04 and 2.3 provisionally in 2004/05. The fatality incidence for all employees was much lower at 1.2 per 100,000 for both years. The same pattern is seen for non-fatal major injuries. Non-fatal major injuries for women employees were similarly elevated.
However, HSE’s misconceptions report concludes overall “older workers do not have more accidents in the workplace.” It adds: “The accidents associated with older workers such as strains, sprains and falls can often be prevented by interventions beneficial for all workers, and older workers may help improve the health and safety culture within organisations as they often take a more responsible attitude to health and safety risks based on their number of years experience in the workplace.”
HSE told Hazards the main explanation for the apparent discrepancy between actual accident figures and the conclusion in the misconceptions report that there is no elevated risk is that officially reported accident figures “do not take account of other important explanatory factors such as occupation and duration of job tenure.”
It adds that a 2005 report for HSE by the Warwick Institute for Employment Research “shows convincingly that after allowing for such factors there is no significant difference in injury rate by age.”
The report, ‘Trends and context to rates of workplace injury’,(12) suggests experience has a clear protective effect, with novices at greatest risk. It says: “In terms of employment tenure, we estimate that: After correcting for exposure, those with current employment tenure of less than a month are almost 400 per cent more likely to have a workplace injury than those with 20 years or more experience in their current job.” The report showed in workers aged 20 and over, relative injury risk in general fell with age, and was lowest in the 45+ age group.
But occupational ill-health is a much more significant cause of harm, and the longer you’ve spent in the workplace the more likely you are to be affected. Occupational cancer alone could account for at least 12,000 premature deaths each year, and possible as many as 24,000 deaths (Hazards 92). The great majority of these are in people in the 60+ age group.
Work-related chronic obstructive airways disease could add another 6,000 deaths. The work contribution to the total circulatory disease toll could be over 20,000 deaths a year. Both conditions are heavily concentrated in the older population.
An HSE information sheet on ‘Occupational ill health age statistics’ pulls together data from four reporting schemes and concludes: “Rates of work-related illnesses are generally higher in older (age 45+) people of working age.” It adds: “We believe these higher rates are explained by the automatic tendency for the prevalence rates for persistent conditions to be greater for older people of working age, and the fact that the prevalence of conditions due to cumulative exposure to hazards will tend to increase with age”.(13)
Sheffield University occupational health researcher Simon Pickvance says: “Most health problems caused by work are more common amongst older workers. Breathing problems, aches and pains (back problems, RSIs), noise-induced deafness, hand-arm vibration syndrome.
“Others, such as occupational cancer, have latencies from exposure to effect, or progress gradually. Some kinds of stress affect people with young families more than older workers – but others like burnout, coping with physical illness and caring responsibilities, fear of job loss or exhaustion affect older workers more.
“So occupational illnesses, as well as general health problems have to be taken into account in making adaptations at work. Preventing them from occurring in the first place is a better option.”
The TUC report, arguing for early preventive action, points to the Whitehall II study of the impact of work on the health of British civil servants which “famously found that job strain earlier in life is linked to developing coronary heart disease and common mental health problems, and that psychosocial factors in the home and the community are also linked to disease development.”
It also backs “regular health screening, workplace and community-based
health and well-being programmes, ‘plain English’ sources
of advice and information and extra resources for health and safety –
if we want the benefit of such advances to be felt by older workers, we
need to make sure they are available to everyone.”
Older women, older workers
TUC in 2002 warned that the health and safety of older women was being neglected.(16) It called on employers to ask older women workers about the risks they faced, and for occupational health researchers to become more gender aware. It also called for unions to encourage older workers to become safety reps (Hazards 78).
A 2003 report from TUC on women and the menopause(17) said many women have jobs that could be making menopause related symptoms worse, and called for employers to provide better welfare facilities, rest breaks and more forethought and understanding (Hazards 82).
There is also anecdotal evidence that women suffering from asbestos related cancers face a tougher battle obtaining compensation than men. And women’s work more commonly includes “emotional labour” and the related stresses and pressures of caring roles.
But there is very little hard evidence in the literature, because there
has been a dearth of detailed studies. ‘Older women, work and health’,(18)
a November 2006 report from Help the Aged and The Age and Employment Network
(TAEN), commented: “Women now make up nearly half of all employees
in the UK. The female employment rate is about 70 per cent and is increasing
in older age groups. There are one and a half million female workers aged
45–64 and 113,000 over the age of 65. Yet little is known about
the quality of their working lives. At all stages of their working lives
women are more likely than men to work part-time; they are concentrated
in certain areas of employment; they are more likely to be in low-status
jobs; and they earn less than men.”
It concludes: “Any attempt to promote the health of older women within the labour force will come up against two types of discriminatory practice: those against women and those against older workers.” It calls for “greater age and gender sensitivity in the practices of the Health and Safety Executive and associated bodies,” with “the development of an appropriate knowledge base and more appropriate indicators for monitoring the occupational health of older women.”
Authors Lesley Doyal and Sarah Payne of the School of Policy Studies at the University of Bristol conclude that greater commitment to age and gender equality is needed in occupational health research, the organisation of work, workplace health interventions and in the framing of wider social policy if the needs of older working women are to be met.
The Help the Aged/TAEN report says changes will be needed in the culture of the workplace if older women are not to be damaged by psychosocial aspects of their work. “This will involve giving them greater control over their working lives. It will also require more effective policies to facilitate the combination of working lives and care of dependants.” It says workplace health promotion activities can fail to meet the needs of older workers in general and older women in particular, problems that must be addressed.
The report concludes broader public policy initiatives will also be necessary “if the health needs of older women in employment are to be met, including a focus on equalising pensions and other benefits that will enable older women to make health choices about employment.”
Patrick Grattan, chief executive of TAEN, said the report “highlights a neglected issue. There has been little research on the work and health of older people, and of older women in particular. And yet the need for extended working lives in the face of increasing longevity and ageing populations is not in dispute.
“Employment amongst people in their 50s and 60s is rising, driven recently by a growth in the number of older working women. Today, 69 per cent of women aged 50-59 are in paid work and 12 per cent of women aged 60 and over.
“It’s vital that there should be more focus on the needs
and health of older working women, an increasingly important group in
the labour market, if the government is to realise its ambition of adding
a million older people to the workforce.“
Health and safety HSE is clear that health and safety should not be used as grounds to exclude older workers. However, risk assessments should ensure they take account of the individual’s capabilities. They should not make assumptions about supposed capabilities or frailties.
General safety laws apply and should take into account individual factors that might affect health and safety, some of which could be related to age. The Approved Code of Practice to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations says an employer must “… adapt work to the individual, as regards to the design of workplaces, the choice of work equipment and the choice of working and production methods with a view in particular to alleviating monotonous work and work at a pre-determined work rate.” Regulation 3 says employers should carry out a “suitable and sufficient assessment of… the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed while they are at work.”
The management regulations require that risk assessments identify those groups of workers who may be particularly at risk (www.hse.gov.uk/risk). In some instances, this may mean giving particular attention to the needs of older workers. Other regulations covering chemical safety, manual handling, noise at work, computer use and personal protective equipment all include risk assessment requirements that should take account of the capability and needs of the workers undertaking the task, and should endeavour to wherever possible adapt the work to the individual, for example with regard to the design of the workplace, the equipment and the working methods (Hazards 44).
Disability The Disability Discrimination Act requires employers to carry out reasonable adjustments at work to help people with disabilities to remain in work. Official figures suggest 45 per cent of people over the age of 50 have a disability as defined by the law (a long-term health problem limiting normal activities for a year or more). Adjustments could include retraining, job redesign, offering an alternative job, changing working hours or providing equipment.
Age discrimination The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 apply to anyone who has employees or who enters into a contract with a person for them to do work. It is now unlawful to decide not to employ, to dismiss, to refuse to training, to deny promotion, to give adverse terms and conditions to a worker on grounds of age. Employers cannot:
* discriminate directly – treat a worker less favourably because of age, unless objectively justified
* discriminate indirectly – work practices or rules that disadvantage workers because of age, unless this can be objectively justified
* harass a worker - conduct related to age that violates your dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment
* victimise a worker - mistreatment where they have made or intend to
make or support a complaint of discrimination on grounds of age
Making work workable
The TUC is calling on the government and employers to adopt measures to stop an ageing workforce being pushed out of jobs on to benefits and early pensions.
TUC’s ‘Ready, willing and able’ report said the problem of an ageing workforce could not be solved just by raising the state pension age. That would simply push more older people onto benefits. Instead, it calls on employers to adopt “age-management strategies” to retain workers over 50, such as retraining and flexible working.
Specific policies TUC says “might help create greater flexibility” include:
* Requiring employers to survey their employees to establish the age profile of their workforce, and then consider with those workers and their representatives what policies would help workers to remain in employment for as long as they would want ideally.
* Extending to all employees the right to request flexible working arrangements. This would challenge the assumption that flexible working is only for women, and enable workers coming up to retirement to “downshift” gradually.
* A right to retraining for older workers, with paid time off work to learn new skills. Judicious subsidies could encourage employers to welcome this.
* DWP advice on retirement planning, offered periodically, starting several years ahead of state pension age.
* Partial retirement - the ability to move to reduced hours, and supplement lower wages with a part-time pension. Finland and Sweden have introduced part-time sick pay for workers suffering from long-term ill health - workers who have been off ill for a long time can return to pay on a part-time basis, and receive partial sick pay as well.
Flexibility of itself is no panacea, and has to be introduced sensitively. A 2004 paper in the Journal of Occupational Health and Safety – Australia and New Zealand noted flexibility can provide scope for graduated exits and post-retirement options for older workers.(20)
On the other hand, it said flexibility can also entail a loss of job/income security that is vital to retirement planning. It can also entail increased work intensity leading to early burnout and premature retirement as well as a need to modify “fitness for work” models/parameters and to recalibrate workloads and hazard exposure limits for older workers given general health changes associated with ageing, especially in context of less regulated and longer working hours.
A 2005 report from The Work Foundation, ‘The ageing workforce’, noted: “Organisations, who are already open to the well-being debates, might want to think about the health status of their employees and what role they can play as workers move into retirement. Good health is heralded as ‘one of the cornerstones of well-being in later life’.”(21)
It points to a 2005 paper from the universities of Edinburgh and Kent, ‘Older workers and options for flexible work’, which says quality of work must be a consideration because “work can have a negative impact on health through stress, depressed wages, and poor-quality jobs in terms of hours or working conditions.”(22)
The Work Foundation report says: “Part of the solution to this will be for organisations to think about how they can fit jobs to older workers through a changed conception of work itself, as well as promoting occupational health and work-life balance. This might include simple changes such as moving manual workers into more administrative posts.”
The improving health and longevity in the UK population means the great majority of workers have no significant health impediments to prevent work up to the age of 65 and for many, where they wish, beyond. And the UK’s ageing workforce means these workers will be essential to business, the economy and wider society.
Older workers, however, are being denied access to work on spurious health and even health and safety grounds. There is no credible reason for these exclusions.
That is not to say that an age “blind” approach is required. Age does impact on capability and health status does change with age. A lifetime of exposure to workplace risks can take its toll too. However, these effects can be minimised and better managed.
Specific measures at a policy and workplace level can help older workers remain healthy and productive longer. If government targets for increased employment of older workers are to be met, it will require new “work ability” approaches from employers, including occupational health and safety programmes and workplace level “age management strategies”. Greater government resources and support for these initiatives are necessary, at least until approaches are have been properly honed and established.
There is a case for introducing an explicit legal duty on employers under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, requiring assessment of jobs to see that job tasks take proper account of the physical capabilities of workers, with a particular focus on older workers and any possible adaptations, job redesign, changes in work hours or schedules or reassignment that might be beneficial. The UK already has a similar safety regulation tailored to younger workers.(24) France has a law requiring periodic review of measures by employers to address the impact of physical strains at work on the employability of older workers, with an explicit requirement to remedy problems identified.
Law or not, age management strategies should be introduced at a workplace level and must target “ageing” rather than just “older” workers. Planning occupational health interventions and devising job redesign or alternative work in good time, with policies looking at workers in the 45+ age group, will provide greater scope for creating suitable and healthy work transitions. Career structures should allow a shift to more suitable work, where necessary or desirable.
The UK’s long hours culture and the intensification of work, with fewer workers expected to do more, is detrimental to both health and productivity. The cumulative harm caused by overwork is likely to disadvantage older workers. Employers should introduce sensible working hours practices, adhering to the Working Time Regulations, and should eliminate excessive work rates. The health and safety enforcement agencies, led by the Health and Safety Executive, should take action to ensure harmful and excessive working hours and work pace are recognised as genuine and illegal health and safety concerns and are enforcement and prevention priorities.
Strategies must also consider gender issues. The health of women workers, and particularly older women workers, has been neglected in occupational health research, in preventive strategies and in approaches by statutory health and safety agencies. There are many gender-related workplace factors ranging from type of work, to health issues to work-life balance that should be considered when considering the employability of older workers.
A new emphasis on occupational health, integrated into board level strategy decisions, is necessary to ensure long-term health problems caused by work are not treated as “tomorrow’s problem”. The problem is today; it is the price paid by the company, the worker and wider society that comes later. Effective implementation of workplace age management strategies will required training of managers and supervisors and a new mind set, focused on maintaining the positive contribution of older workers.
Failure on the part of employers to make any efforts to accommodate older workers could constitute age or disability discrimination. Workers, unions and other advocates should make sure they use age and disability discrimination laws effectively to ensure employers at least meet their minimum legal duties.
Extension to older workers of the “right to ask” for flexible working arrangements would enable older workers to consider alternative work patterns better suited to their capabilities and responsibilities, including the possibility of “sunsetting”, a gradual reduction in work up to retirement. Workers should not be denied safety or vocational training because of their age.
Older workers are less of a sickness problem to employers than the workforce as a whole. They are more likely to take periods of long-term sick leave, however, so sickness policies should allow time off to manage chronic health problems.
Physical fitness in older workers is strongly related to continued fitness to work. Employers can support older workers remaining fit and healthy by providing time, resources and access to facilities for participation in healthy activities inside and outside the workplace.
Official health and safety agencies must be fully involved in overseeing implementation of ageing workforce policies and practices. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) must be provided additional resources to develop advice, guidance and enforcement approaches tailored to ensuring the continued productive and healthy employment of older workers.
Occupational health is not just about the health of the worker. It is about the right to healthy and productive retirement. Poor working conditions are stealing healthy retirement years from workers. Occupational health research and policy must not be limited to ensuring work remains healthy. Both must ensure full consideration is giving to minimising the impact of occupation-related injury and disability in retirement.
Finally, health and safety and the older worker must be a core issue for trade unions. Unions should develop policy on occupational health and safety and the ageing worker. At workplace level, older workers’ health and safety should be raised at workplace health and safety committees, and should be discussed with members. All terms and conditions negotiations should consider the impact on older workers. Unions should also investigate measures to maintain contact with retired members so the real extent of work-related health problems are recognised and acted upon, and affected retired members are provided the necessary support and compensation.
1. Facts and misconceptions about age, health status and employability. Report Number HSL/2005/20. [pdf]
2. Ready, willing and able, TUC, August 2006.
4. First findings of the European Working Conditions Survey: Working conditions in Europe – what workers say. European Foundation news release, 7 November 2006. Fourth European Working Conditions Survey (2005). European Foundation survey 2000, question on “sustainability of work.”
5. Attitude not age, Employers’ Forum on Age, September 2005. EFA publications webpage.
7. Juhani Ilmarinen. Ageing workers, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 58, page 546, 2001.
8. Juhani Ilmarinen. The ageing workforce - challenges for occupational health, Occupational Medicine, volume 56, pages 362-364, 2006.
9. Employment initiatives for an ageing workforce in the EU15, European Foundation, 2006 [pdf]
10. Position paper on age and employment, Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians, August 2004. [pdf]
11. HSE age
and gender accident statistics, 2003/04 and 2004/05 (provisional)
14. A job to die for?, Hazards, number 92, October-December 2005.
15. Burying the evidence, Hazards 92, October-December 2005.
16. Health and work in older women: a neglected issue, TUC/Pennell Institute, 2002. TUC news release
17. Working through the change: health and safety and the menopause, TUC, 2003 [pdf]
19. Managing physical strain at work, EWCO
news pages, 13 August 2004.
20. Callaghan K, Francis M and Gorman D. Editorial: Age and employment, Journal of Occupational Health and Safety – Australia and New Zealand, vol.20, pages 291-295, 2004.
21. Natalie Turner and Laura Williams. The ageing workforce, The Work Foundation, 2005. [pdf]
22. Loretto W, Vickerstaff S and White P, Older workers and Options for Flexible Work, Working Paper Series No 31, Universities of Edinburgh and Kent, 2005
23. Hirsch B, Macpherson D and Hardy M, Occupational age structure and access for older workers, Industrial and Labour Relations Review, Vol 53 No 3, pp401–418, 2000.
24. Too young to die, Hazards, Number 95, July-September 2006.
Age and working conditions in the European Union, European Foundation, 2003.
Foundation Focus - Issue 2: Age and employment, European Foundation, September 2006.
ACAS Age in the workplace advice leaflet. ACAS helpline on 08457 47 47 47.
Occupational health and safety issues and for the older worker, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, USA, December 2003 [pdf]
Why should a workplace look at issues concerning ageing workers?, CCOHS factsheet, Canada, 2002.
Older workers: living longer, working longer, DELSA newsletter issue 2, OECD, 2006. [pdf]
TAEN – The Age and Employment Network, 207-221 Pentonville Road, London N1 9UZ. Tel: 020 7843 1590.
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