Here’s an important workplace health and safety factor that you may not have considered. Whether by choice or necessity, many workers are staying on after retirement age these days and that means organisations have to adapt.
It was US statistics that highlighted this fact and caught the attention of Australian employers. Over recent years more than 50% of workplace injuries happened to employees aged 55 or over. In addition, workplace deaths affect those aged 65 and over at far higher rates.
As you might expect, the same injury might be more severe for an older person than a young staff member. The answer is to create age-friendly workplaces.
This is particularly relevant as the Australian government is urging business owners to provide more jobs for the over-55s and financially rewarding those who do. This highlights the need for increased safety management system training.
An interesting report revealed that if Australia employed more people over the age of 55 it could boost the economy by around $78 billion. The study, carried out by consulting firm PwC, revealed that in Sweden, around three-quarters of the over 55s were employed. If that happened in Australia it would give us a 4.7% increase in GDP.
Tips To Support Older Workers
WorkCover Queensland has looked at this situation in detail and offered tips for supporting an ageing workforce. Tips including matching the employee to the right job, rotating physically demanding tasks and training all workers in injury prevention strategies.
One way to ensure your workplace is age-friendly is to implement an integrated safety management system. Integrated systems are shown to save time and money, and reduce documentation, whilst still achieving goals and targets.
An integrated safety management system quite literally puts workplace health and safety at the heart of your business planning. It makes it easier to train and communicate and creates a culture of safety in your organisation.
Safety Management System Training
Safety management system training is an important part of the equation and should start with management. It’s important they are on the same page, well informed and able to communicate safety policies to all employees.
A safety management system such as AS/NZS 4801, ISO 45001 Safety Management System (Australian Standard) and OHSAS 18001:2007 (International Standard) is probably your best choice. It will not only keep you and your workers safe but will also ensure your business complies with new safety legislation.
The recently introduced Industrial Manslaughter laws can impose a 20-year prison sentence for individuals or a fine of $10 million for a corporate offender.
Reap the Rewards
Older workers bring many benefits to the workplace, apart from that financial boost. They offer skills, maturity, and experience and can even act as mentors to younger employees.
Two Aussie companies that are stepping up to the mark are Westpac and Australia Post. They have put policies in place to support and protect ageing employees and they are reaping the rewards.
If you’d like to take your organisation down this path you should seriously consider implementing an integrated safety management system with the help of ISO management system consultants in Brisbane.