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Health and safety for older workers

Senior workers are an important part of the workforce, and they are valued for their many years of experience.

As we age, we become more susceptible to injury and illness. The following are some common safety risks for older workers:

• Musculoskeletal injuries – Older workers are more susceptible to injuries such as strains, sprains and fractures due to the natural decline in bone density and muscle mass that occurs with age.

• Cardiovascular disease – Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 65 and older.

• Heat stress – As we age, our bodies become less efficient at regulating our internal temperature. This can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke when working in hot environments.

• slips, trips and falls – Older adults are more likely to slip and fall due to reduced balance and coordination. Falls are a leading cause of injury among older workers.

That’s why it’s important for employers to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of their older workers. Many workplaces have health and safety policies that are designed to protect senior workers.

Some simple safety practices include:

• Providing anti-slip flooring and well-lit work areas

• Installing grab bars and hand rails in bathrooms and stairways

• Offering regular physical break times to stretch and move around

• Adjusting workstations to reduce ergonomic risks

• Encouraging employees to stay active and fit outside of work

There can be more specific safety implementations that vary depending on the nature of the work. By taking these measures, employers can help create a safe and comfortable working environment for all employees – regardless of age.

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