Nowadays, many people want to keep working past 50. The state pension age has been put up, the default retirement age has been removed and life expectancy has gone up. Aside from the financial necessity for some people to continue working late into life, a lot of people just don’t feel old by the time they reach 60 and feel more than capable to keep going. According to demographic trends, older workers are a large and important part of the workforce. Birth rates are going down and we live in an increasingly ageing society – we’re more dependant on older workers than ever!
Older people want to keep working, can perform as well as a younger person and they’re relied upon to work, but what does that mean for their workplace safety?
Older Workers are More Likely to Suffer Severe Injuries
While older people do not have more accidents at work than their younger colleagues, they are more likely to have serious accidents which may result in permanent disabilities and death. They are at higher risk of slips, trips and falls. They generally need more recovery time from an accident too.
Because their accidents are usually more severe, this can come at great cost to them, meaning that they could have to take long periods off work or retire before they are ready.
Health and Safety Should be Used to Protect, Not Discriminate
Workplace safety should not be used as an excuse to discriminate against older workers and there are discrimination laws in place to protect employees. Employers have a duty by law to protect vulnerable employees. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; employers have to make an assessment of workplace risks. This includes identifying employees who could be at more at risk, such as older workers.
Age can increase your movement and response times and decrease your joint mobility, particularly if you have a condition such as arthritis or have poor hearing or eyesight. If you have a condition which may affect your work, you should tell your employer so that they can include this in their risk assessment. If you’re over 60, you may need more time allowed for training or learning new health and safety information. If you’re injured and need to take time off work, you might need a little bit longer in your recovery time.
Older People are Entitled to Make Workplace Accident Claims
If your employer does not make the proper risk assessments and you and your employees are doing incorrect manual handling, for example, you may be more likely to become injured because you are older than them. This does not mean that your injury is your fault, or that the injury was not the fault of your employer because of your age.
If you have an accident at work which causes you to become injured, do not automatically blame yourself and do not allow your employer to pass the blame onto you. If you have suffered a more severe injury than you would have if you were younger, your employer could still be liable for this. Take a look at our complete guide to making a workplace accident claim. If you’re unsure about whether your employer was to blame for your accident, you can always call us on 0114 267 8780 between 8 am – 9pm. One of our solicitors will be able to arrange a face to face visit with you to discuss your queries. We work on a no win, no fee basis so if you aren’t able to make a claim, you will not have to pay us a thing.