Strategies for an Aging Workforce

aging-workforce_shutterstock_46798174The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 25% of the workforce will be over 55 in 2020.  That’s one in four workers — up from one in every five workers just two years ago.  Why?  In addition to Boomers, the elimination of mandatory retirement and the enactment of age discrimination laws accounts for some of this trend. Better life expectancy and health is partly responsible. And for most, early retirement is largely a thing of the past.  Many workers now choose to or must remain in the workforce longer than they had originally planned.

The good news is that a well-designed workplace with positive policies and programs to optimize the health of aging workers benefits everyone.  When work stations and job tasks are matched to the capacity of each worker, younger or older, everyone benefits.  When workplace flexibility is maximized, when work is organized with personal health and well-being principles in mind, and when workplace policies consistently are viewed through their health effects on workers, employers and workers both win.  This is also a way for employers to exercise excellent foresight to support ongoing organizational health for their companies and indeed for the U.S. economy, as well as the individual worker’s well-being.  By preventing stresses or injuries that, over time, can have cumulative negative effects on a worker’s ability to work safely and productively, an employer can help assure that the U.S. continues to have a capable, experienced workforce.

Many effective workplace solutions are simple, don’t have to cost very much, and can have large benefits if implemented properly with worker input and support throughout all levels of management. Below are strategies for preparing your workplace for an older and healthier, safer workforce.  Consider putting these in place today.

  • Prioritize workplace flexibility.  Workers prefer jobs that offer more flexibility over those that offer more vacation days.  To the extent possible, give workers a say in their schedule, work conditions, work organization, work location and work tasks.
  • Match tasks to abilities.  Use self-paced work, self-directed rest breaks and less repetitive tasks
  • Avoid prolonged, sedentary work – it’s bad for workers at every age.  Consider sit/stand workstations and walking workstations for workers who traditionally sit all day.  Provide onsite physical activity opportunities or connections to low-cost community options.
  • Manage noise hazards (including excess background noise), slip/trip hazards, and physical hazards, conditions that can challenge an aging workforce more.
  • Provide ergo-friendly work environments — workstations, tools, floor surfaces, adjustable seating, better illumination where needed, and screens and surfaces with less glare.
  • Utilize teams and teamwork strategies for aging-associated problem solving.  Workers closest to the problem are often best equipped to find the fix.
  • Provide health promotion and lifestyle interventions including physical activity, healthy meal options, tobacco cessation assistance, risk factor reduction and screenings, coaching, and onsite medical care. Accommodate medical self-care in the workplace and time away for health visits.
  • Invest in training and building worker skills and competencies at all age levels. Help older employees adapt to new technologies, often a concern for employers and older workers.
  • Proactively manage reasonable accommodations and the return-to-work process after illness or injury absences.
  • Require aging workforce management skills training for supervisors.  Include a focus on the most effective ways to manage a multi-generational workplace.

via CDC – NIOSH Science Blog – Safer and Healthier at Any Age: Strategies for an Aging Workforce.

Stroke Warning Signs


F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know quickly that you need to call 9-1-1 for help. This is important because the sooner a stroke victim gets to the hospital, the sooner they’ll get treatment. And that can make a remarkable difference in their recovery.

F.A.S.T. IS:

  • Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 911 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.


Immediately call 9-1-1 or the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number so an ambulance can be sent.  Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. A clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may improve the chances of getting better but only if you get them help right away.

A TIA or transient ischemic attack is a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that produces stroke-like symptoms. TIA symptoms usually only last a few minutes but, if left untreated, people who have TIAs have a high risk of stroke. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce the risk of a major stroke.


  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

via Stroke Warning Signs.

Save Your Back – Practice Safe Lifting

image001Practice safe lifting

  • Try not to lift more weight than you’re used to carrying. How much you can handle safely depends in part on your level of conditioning. Technique also makes a difference.
  • To help avoid back injury, remember to lift with your legs. Here’s how:
  • Bend your knees.
  • Keep your back straight, even when you’re putting down the load.
  • Hold the load close to your body and use a slow, steady lifting motion.
  • Don’t twist while carrying something. Instead, turn your feet and your body in the direction you want to go.
  • If you need to move something that’s too heavy for you to lift, ask someone to help you. Or, if you’re authorized to use a forklift or other device, use it to move the object.

via Tips for Staying Healthy and Safe at Work.

Danger – Falling Ice

falling_ice_signRight now in our area there are huge problems with ice forming on the eaves of buildings.  These ice monstrosities are formed when the roof warms up from the sun or from heat loss inside the living space.  Then water runs down and cools at the overhangs, or eaves.  The water freezes and forms an ice dam.  This backs up water that may be running down the roof, thus providing potential water leakage and damage to the interior of the building. It can be very dangerous to remove these hanging ice sickles or even walk underneath them.  They can be extremely heavy and falling from the height of a building can injure or even kill people below.

Injured and Addicted

Hydrocodone-pillsWorksites can present many types of hazards. Although some people may believe an injury occurring from those hazards is the worst-case situation, a worker recovering from that injury could be in just as much danger – if not more. From 1999 to 2008, the number of drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics, or painkillers, more than tripled – to about 148,000 from 4,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, for every unintentional opioid analgesics overdose death, there are nine people admitted for substance abuse treatment, 35 emergency department visits and 161 reports of drug abuse or dependence, CDC said. Although it is unclear how many involve employees who were injured on the job and are in the workers’ compensation system, experts contend that the national trend of painkiller abuse extends to recovering workers.

via Injured and addicted.

American Football: Fears Over Player Safety

big-hitSome 100 million Americans will sit down to watch what they call the “greatest show on earth” this weekend – with the very future of a beloved sport apparently in doubt.

The Super Bowl is the showpiece of American Football – last year’s game was the most watched television programme in American history – but a dark shadow looms over the sport.

There is growing evidence that head injuries suffered on the field could be contributing to long-term damage among former players.

Researchers say head trauma from concussions can lead to a degenerative disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), resulting in depression and other psychological effects.

via American Football: Fears Over Player Safety.

The Importance of Job Descriptions

job description iconWhile there is no federal or Michigan statute that requires them, a good job description is an important tool in the effective and legal management of any organization.  A well-written job description provides many essential benefits to human resource administration.  On the other hand, a poorly written or out-dated job description can be a barrier to effective personnel management.

What Do Job Descriptions Do?

  • Set clear job expectations.
  • Give managers guidelines to hire, promote and supervise employees.
  • Help support hiring, disciplinary, promotion, compensation and termination decisions.
  • Help an employer comply with numerous legal requirements.

via The Importance of Job Descriptions | The National Law Review.

New Year Resolutions – How Are You Doing?

new-years-resolutionsThe Truth About New Year Resolutions:

About 40 to 45% of adults make one or more New Year’s resolutions each year.

Most popular resolutions include promises of weight loss, exercise and quitting smoking.

Also common are resolutions dealing with better money management / debt reduction.

The following statistics reveal how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

  • Past the first week: 75%
  • Past the first week: 75%
  • Past 2 weeks: 71%
  • After one month: 64%
  • After 6 months: 46%
  • About 67% of people make three or more resolutions.

Expert’s Advice on New Year’s Resolution

Though many people make New Year’s Resolution with enthusiasm and zeal, yet it has been noticed that most of these resolution fail shortly after. Experts feel that the reason for the failure of these resolutions is that most people do not back their resolution with proper planning. It is recommended that one should plan how to effectively deal with the temptation of giving up the resolution in the mid-way. Besides, it is recommended that one should take help of friends and dear ones to keep their motivation level high.

via New Year Resolutions – The Truth Revealed.