Several surveys predict that by 2020 at least 40% of the aging work force will retire as the option robot trading will be becoming more and more accessible; this will be big brain drain for companies because this segment will take immense expertise and knowledge with them. Today when things happen at supersonic speeds, the older people feel challenged because of the decrease in manual dexterity and speed.
To accommodate your aging workforce and maintaining their productivity you must implement workplace ergonomics.
Common issues of aging population
With age people develop problems in hearing, vision and cognitive abilities. Due to the decrease in the muscular strength they also have musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). There is also greater risk of trips and falls in this group.
Workplace ergonomics for older people
Here are a few guidelines that companies can adopt to make their aging workforce more comfortable and productive.
The older generation should be trained to adopt the correct posture to mitigate the strain on their musculoskeletal system. They should be encouraged to frequently change their position and move around. You can allocate tasks that meet the above requirements to the aging workforce.
With age vision deteriorates; therefore make sure that your workplace is well lit at all times. You can invest in LED lights which are not only bright but are also eco friendly.
It has been found that pinch grip (the most common grip in industries and workplaces where the thumb and the index and middle fingers are used to grasp an object) puts strain on the tendons almost 3 to 5 times more than a power grip. Therefore ensure that all pinch grips are replaced by power grips where the entire hand is used.
For those working in front of screen for long periods of time, the provision to use anti-glare filters should be made.
Keep large buttons
All instructions and labels should have larger fonts and where ever buttons are involved make sure the size of the button is large and clearly visible.
Hand shake zone
It is often hard for these people to reach out for things or bend and pick things which add severe strain to their back and neck resulting in injuries. Therefore make sure their workstations or any equipment they use is at hand shake level.
These baby boomers have a wealth of information and experience that can help your company grow. This generation is prone to lesser anxiety attacks, is more motivated, verbal, is safety conscious and knows the value of time and money. Hence, it is only fair that as a caring organization you make a few ergonomical changes in the workplace to accommodate this group.
Eliminate ergonomic stress in your workplace and become proactive and safeguard your workforce by following the listed points:
- Identify the ergonomic risk factors and remove them
- Identify individual risk factors and remove them
- Train the baby boomers to adopt safer lifestyle practices and other ergonomic strategies that will minimize MSD discomforts.
The best change you can bring in your organization is to introduce age neutral designs so that both the young and the old can work harmoniously and productively.
AHFE 2014 Post-Conference Books
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AHFE 2012 Conference Proceedings CD and Conference Books
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