The progressive ageing of the workforce has led to the birth of the E-Capacit8 project in order to train professionals in Health and Safety. This project is finalizing its initial phase of data collection, with the next one planned for 2015-2016 to launch the training platform. This platform has the goal of using the e-learning format to give the widest possible coverage.
It is in fact a response to an existing reality that is going to force companies to change their management systems and to take into account the qualities of older workers in organizing the production system.
Until today, it has been a situation thought of as a threat; losing the “young” workforce would be a loss in the production system due to the belief of increased productivity from young people.
This does not prevent us from looking at the situation as it really is, an opportunity. Older workers are no less productive, even in jobs that are physically demanding. It is absolutely true that (we) older workers are losing capabilities; in fact a 25-year-old can experience certain reduced physical capacities compared to an 18-year-old. But those losses are perfectly offset by qualities which takes many years to develop. The different capacities between young and old deserve its own post, so it’s better that we stick to our current subject, which is the need to adapt the company to older workers, because the truth is that there is not, and I do not think you would be able to find, evidence that an older worker is less productive than a young worker.
This adaptation does not need to wait for E-Capacita8 to be in operation. Existing studies and guides now point to a clear point, healthy management in a company. Promoting the employability of older workers is to improve the physical and psychological conditions at work, which will control the current serious problem of early withdrawal from the labour market of people over 50 years, promoting healthy lifestyles and even taking action within the community to break the generation gap between young and old.
This implies that those who start to work on improving the health of their workers have obvious competitive advantage both in the present, due to increased competitiveness which induces a motivated workforce, and in the future in which a healthy company will be a social requirement in work as well as possibly to consume / use their products / services.
By way of reflection, trying to empathize with the impression that reading this post may cause, a doubt that can be generated reasonably is to wonder if there are jobs like mining that an older worker cannot carry out; and is absolutely true, under current conditions it is not a viable work for an older worker … but why is it viable for a young worker? Miners retire with 40 years of age and usually with severe lung disease; shouldn’t we also work to avoid these and other works that, although they can be realized by a young person, there is very high probability that it will have serious consequences for their health? don’t you think that it is a shame that Spain has 900,000 people with permanent disability?
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