Benefits of older workers highlighted in new report

28 September 2016

A new report into the impact of ageing workforces highlights the “many benefits that older workers contribute” to businesses, according to IOSH.

B and Q worker

The British Medical Association’s (BMA) occupational medicine committee has published Ageing and the workplace, reporting that a large majority of older employees enjoy good physical and mental health and work very well until the ages of 65-70.

The report also puts forward recommendations for how employers can better accommodate older workers and provides information about their safety and health needs and examples of good practice.

Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at IOSH, said: “IOSH welcomes this BMA report, which highlights the many benefits that older workers contribute and recommends people-friendly workplace policies that consider the changing needs of the ageing worker. 

“This aligns with IOSH’s calls for more employers to use proactive age-management, helping to ensure that all workers can fulfil their potential. This includes better designed work, workplace adjustments, training opportunities, flexible working and tackling unhelpful stereotypes.”

The report says there are more over-50s working in the UK than ever before. It adds that as of August 2016, over 1.2 million people were working beyond the age of 65. 

IOSH believes that older workers are a valuable resource and make a positive contribution to organisations. Age diversity at work brings benefits to individuals, workplaces and wider society, such as a broader range of skills and experience. For more information click here

IOSH is also supporting a campaign by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) to highlight the importance of good occupational safety and health management throughout people’s working lives.

The BMA report – while explaining that in most jobs, declining health or functional capacity has minimal impact on job performance or safety – outlines some safety and health requirements for older workers, making several recommendations.

It says: “In some jobs, employers will have to consider providing reasonable adjustments to accommodate different worker requirements, particularly where there are heavy physical demands and long hours. 

“That said, jobs should be made safe for all workers. In order for workers to remain productive there must be a good fit between work demands, their working environment and their bio-psychosocial needs.

“Employers and their health and safety and occupational health services have much to offer with regard to ensuring proper risk assessments, fitting the task to individual capability and coaching people to lead healthy lifestyles throughout their lifespan.”

Image: The report has highlighted the benefits of older workers. PA Images