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Is your employee's age becoming a health and safety concern? Here's how the Erste Bank Lifetime project can help you resolve the problem

by , 18 November 2014
Ageing is a fact of life. Unfortunately, so are the health and safety concerns that come with it.

As your employees age, their muscles weaken and they become more prone to accidents and injuries.

And because of the tough economic times, most people feel the need to work later into their lives. This means you may have more ageing employees that you need to take care of.

But how do you even begin to protect your employees as they get older?

Don't worry, we'll show you how get started...

*********** Hot off the press  ************
Do you want to be fined, jailed or have a criminal record for life?
If an accident occurs in your workplace, and the person dies, you could be charged with culpable homicide, charged penalties of R100 000 or 2 years in jail! The CEO or Owner of a company is personally accountable for health and safety at work. 

Here are the things you need to consider when you take steps to protect your ageing employees

Accord to Health and Safety: A Guide to Managing an Ageing Workforce, simple changes to your employees work and working conditions could allow them to safely do their work late into their lives.
For example, simply sorting materials between waist and shoulder height, or investing adjustable work stations, could help prevent back injuries that would usually stop ageing employee from working.
The guide outlines some of the changes you should consider when you plan to adjust your employees working conditions.
These include changes to:
- Muscles;
- Bones;
- Heart and respiration system;
- Hearing;
- Vision;
- Skin;
- Mental processes; and
- Sensory and motor process.
But not every ageing employee will experience the same difficulties. That's why the best way to determine which on your employees experience what problems, is to do a risk assessment. 
Now, if all of this sounds like too complicated for your, it really isn't. Check out how Erste Bank did it.

Here's how the Erste Bank Lifetime Project helps to protect their ageing employees

The Erste Bank in Austria has a programme for adjusting the working conditions of ageing employees called the Lifetime Project.
The project aims to create a productive workforce through every stage of employees' lives. 
The project's health management worked on the World Health Organisation's (WHO) criteria of health promotion. This criteria stipulates your health management should lead to the physical, mental and social wellbeing of all employees. 
The project offered a Work-Health-Centre that specialised in preventive medical examinations, ergonomic workplace design, physical treatment and psychological counselling. 
It also offered counselling to help ageing employees deal with stress, burnout and the pressure of their work-life balance.
The results of the project were as follows:
- Approximately 1,500 employees went for an annual check-up.
- Approximately 650 participants went for melanoma screening.
- The programme offered seasonal vaccines (influenza and encephalitis) and current immunisations.
- Approximately 1,250 participants went for eye tests.
- The programme checked for new office furnishings.
- The project offered individual health counselling, e.g. vaccinations for business trips.
- Approximately 700 employees requested psychological consultations.
- Approximately 11,000 consultations took place at the health centre.
- Approximately 260 participants attended the 'veins action week' for employees with a sitting and/or standing task.
- The number of burnouts decreased through specific preventions (e.g. psychological counselling, financial support for psychotherapy).
- 96 older employees took advantage of a new working time model.
The outcomes of the project were huge. They improved the overall wellbeing of older employees. You can see by the vast numbers of employees that took part, that ageing employees need and thrive on this kind of health support.
So, if you want to find a way to improve your ageing employees' working conditions implement your own version of the Lifetime project and give your employees the support they need to keep working. 

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