Preparing for The Aging Workforce

More and more seniors are staying in the the workforce, and this means companies need to understand how to best utilize and protect them.

Over the past 20 years, the number of working Americans in their 70s has increased from under 10 percent to nearly 15 percent, the US Census Bureau data reveals. Thanks to a combination of people living longer, healthier lives and financial necessity, this number is only set to increase. The benefits of hiring older workers are numerous: they have more knowledge and experience than younger workers and also tend to be more reliable and loyal. 

Hiring older workers have other considerations, though. Although they’re less likely to injure themselves than younger workers, injuries sustained by older workers are typically more severe and take longer to heal. Still, this does not discount the value older workers have on the workforce regarding skills, attitude, and knowledge.

Basically, older workers are critical to companies, but they also require certain safeguards. Organizations should take action to help protect older workers.

Training Requirements
While older workers are very capable of learning new skills and performing new tasks, health and safety managers may need to adjust training requirements to optimize learning efficiency. For example, you may need to extend the training period to allow older workers extra time to absorb the material. Self-paced learning schedules may be even more effective. Focus on providing practical training, which helps reinforce learning. 

Make sure older workers have the opportunity to practice using equipment or technology relevant to the job. Help and assistance should be readily available. While older workers may take longer to train than younger workers, they’re just as productive in the long run. In fact, 70 percent of HR managers cited stronger work ethic as one of the main benefits of hiring older workers. 

Changes in Career
When conducting risk assessment, think about the tasks typically performed by your organization’s older workers. Is there manual handling or strenuous activity involved? You may need to create opportunities that allow them to move to other, more suitable types of work. Career switches are popular choices for people of all ages, including those middle-aged and above. In fact, the average worker holds an average of 10.8 jobs from ages 18 to 42. With the aging workforce, career switches will continue to be viable options for even older employees. 

Additionally, consider switching older workers into positions of mentorship. Older workers have knowledge, skills, and experience, which makes them a great choice for mentorship roles. You’ll then minimize potential ergonomic injuries while creating an efficient and productive workforce. 

Workplace Health Programs
Health issues increase with age—hypertension and arthritis are two of the most common health conditions reported by employees older than 55, according to the CDC. In fact, over 75 percent of older workers have at least one chronic health condition that requires management. Implementing workplace health programs can help organizations prevent disease and injury and maintain a healthy workforce. 

For example, a comprehensive workplace health program may include healthy menus, physical exercise, tobacco-use cessation support, health screenings, and medical care. Additionally, train management to spot signs of chronic illnesses and implement an effective absence-management policy.


Older workers are an asset to any organization. Taking the time to implement these effective workplace solutions can benefit both older and younger workers alike and maintain a positive and productive workforce. 

Download Center

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Incident Investigations Guide

    If your organization has experienced an incident resulting in a fatality, injury, illness, environmental exposure, property damage, or even a quality issue, it’s important to perform an incident investigation to determine how this happened and learn what you can do to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of performing an incident investigation.

  • Lone Worker Guide

    Lone workers exist in every industry and include individuals such as contractors, self-employed people, and those who work off-site or outside normal hours. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies, inadequate rest and breaks, physical violence, and more. To learn more about lone worker risks and solutions, download this informative guide.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Download the guide to learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • The Basics of Incident Investigations Webinar

    Without a proper incident investigation, it becomes difficult to take preventative measures and implement corrective actions. Watch this on-demand webinar for a step-by-step process of a basic incident investigation, how to document your incident investigation findings and analyze incident data, and more. 

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2022

    November December 2022


      The Evolution of Gas Detection
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2022
      Enhance Your Fall Protection Program with Technology
      The Future: How Safety WIll Continue to Evolve
    View This Issue