When a job requires a certain amount of heavy lifting, bending, reaching, or other physical activity, it can take a toll on a worker’s body, particularly older employees. The natural aging process makes older adults more prone to things such as back injuries, knee problems, and joint pain. This can have a serious impact on workplace injuries. As a result, employers are investigating innovative ways to make the workplace safer for older workers.
Nursing is one example of a job that can be extremely physical, including lifting heavy patients from a wheelchair or gurney to a bed. Jim Godwin, Vice President of Human Resources at Bon Secours Virginia Health System, found an increase in back injuries among older workers. To help address this issue and prevent further injuries, the company instituted a new protocol for moving patients. Nurses of any age could get help from a “patient mobility team.” According to Godwin, this would help prevent injuries in younger workers as well, making them less likely to become injured as they get older.
Older employees are continuing to work reports the Co-Director of the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. Changes in workplace safety need to be made in order to protect these workers from a potentially serious workplace injury. If the United States government’s estimates are accurate, older workers will make up approximately 25 percent of the labor market by 2024.
Steps to Create a Safer Work Environment for Older Employees
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health offers a range of recommendations for improving workplace safety for older workers, including the following:
Allow for flexibility when it comes to schedules, location and tasks, and other aspects of the job that can be made safer with less rigidity.
Create a work environment that encourages employees to move around as opposed to remaining sedentary all day. This includes providing on-site exercise classes, lunchtime walks, or sit/stand work stations.
Eliminate potential hazards such as cords, uneven flooring, or poor lighting that could cause a worker to slip and fall.
Keep noise at a decibel that would not cause hearing damage.
Make sure that workers have an ergonomically friendly work space, including comfortable, supportive seating, safe flooring, and proper lighting.
Encourage employees to work together to solve problems as a team.
Support employee efforts to maintain healthy lifestyles, including self-care in the workplace and time away for doctor’s appointments or other health-related visits.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Older Injured Workers
If you are an older worker and you have been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Every employee deserves a safe environment to work, regardless of your age. If your injury is work-related, we will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum benefits that you deserve. We will not stop fighting for you until you receive the financial compensation that is entitled to you. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.