Health and Safety Issues of Older Workers

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Industrialized nations worldwide are experiencing an “aging” of their population. This phenomenon is caused by an increase in the overall life expectancy of the people and a decline in their fertility rate. As a consequence, the workforce of these nations is getting older also. Although the older employees of today are healthier, better educated, and financially more stable than previous generations, it will be necessary to promote the health and safety of these workers in order to optimize productivity, safety, and job satisfaction. The most common age related changes impacting job performance today are caused by changes in the musculo-skeletal system, eyes, ears, lungs, skin, and the immune system. However, cognitive and adaptive skills acquired from experience and training during the lifetime can often compensate for the negative biological and physiological changes. However, attitudes and values of older workers and how these influence the view and reaction to workplace health and safety issues must also be addressed. Changes in vision and hearing are two factors that deserve special attention because of their immediate impact on the health and well being of the older workers

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