The Dangers Suffered by Older Workers

Advancements in medicine and overall improvement in quality of lifestyle has increased life expectancy. Therefore, this has subsequently increased the number of older workers. The Office for National Statistics predicts that by 2020, more than a third of the workforce will be aged over 50.

There were 47 fatalities in the Republic of Ireland in 2017 – an increase on the previous year. However, nearly 30% of these fatalities were over 65 years old.

Some other key statistics include:

  • Highest number of work related fatalities came from the agriculture sector.
  • Most number of accidents were due to contact with vehicles, whilst falls from a height was the next most common cause.
  • Dublin, Cork and Mayo were the counties with the highest number of fatalities in 2017.

These statistics highlight the dangers suffered by workers over the age of 60. In particular, within the agriculture sector, where many of them were working alone.

It’s important that we don’t use health and safety as an excuse to avoid employing someone over the age of 60. The Health and Safety Executive states that “Older workers bring a broad range of skills and experience to the workplace and often have better judgement and job knowledge. So looking after their health and safety makes good business sense.”

What can be done to help safeguard people when working alone ?

Lone Working Solutions

Working alone is completely legal. But organisations need to undertake risk assessments to determine the hazards a worker could face when working alone. For example:

  • Sudden illnesses
  • Slip, trip or fall
  • Physical abuse

Implementing a robust lone worker solution should be considered by every organisation.

As a leading provider of lone worker support in Ireland, we take pride in protecting the safety of your lone working employees. Our product portfolio ranges from Smartphone apps to discreet personal safety devices, that help organisations to meet the duty of care requirements to their employees.

Some key guidance for employers to help protect the safety of their workforce

  • Conduct risk assessments to identify key hazards and implement measures to avoid any injuries.
  • Provide effective training so that employees can safely carry out their duties, including manual handling.
  • Good housekeeping and a proactive approach towards keeping the workplace clutter free. This helps minimise injuries suffered through slips or trips.
  • Consult with your employees when considering relevant control measures. This would help manage health and safety in a practical way.
  • Introduce a positive approach towards health and safety at work. This will give all employees the confidence to speak up if they have specific queries or concerns about safety.