209142 From classroom to practice: Health and safety training of an aging workforce

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 8:50 AM

Thomas Estabrook, Ph D , The New England Consortium, University of Massachusetts - Lowell, Lowell, MA
Bridget E. McGuiness, CET , The New England Consortium, University of Massachusetts - Lowell, Lowell, MA
Training required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations often focuses on the “here and now” and may include for example, information about material safety data sheets, personal protective equipment, or hazards on a construction site. Often enough, worker and management focus is also on the here and now of getting the work done rather than on the critical examination of the work environment for job hazards that are known to contribute to workplace injury or illness.

As individuals age, natural changes result including reduced physical and sensory capabilities and mental acuity. While aging workers may not necessarily have a higher injury risk overall, the effects of their injuries may be more intense than those experienced by younger workers.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a guidance document that targeted age awareness training for miners. The objectives found in that document may be applied to any industry and include examination and understanding of age-related changes that everyone experiences, identifying work that puts all at risk, modifying jobs to accommodate older workers, and examining healthy life choices.

This session will include an overview of a small-group activity developed by the presenters that identified hazards faced by aging workers and interventions that could be implemented to accommodate an aging workforce. It will include evaluation data with anecdotal examples from student-workers who participated in the activity of workplace changes made to accommodate an aging workforce.

Learning Objectives:
Define the term "aging workforce". Differentiate between health issues that result from natural aging and those that result from the organization of work environments. Identify obstructions faced by workers in moving classroom knowledge to practice in the work environment.

Keywords: Occupational Safety, Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the training content and evaluation materials for this presentation and facilitated trainings that contained the content and evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.