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20/04/2017

Roundtable brings companies and journalists together to discuss healthy and sustainable ageing

On 5 April experts in health and safety from 5 multinational companies met with journalists at a roundtable event in Madrid to discuss best practices for preventing risks at work, and providing a safe and healthy environment for employees of all ages.

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As part of the European Campaign Assistance Package (ECAP) scheme for EU-OSHA’s national focal points, the event was organised by the Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo in Spain. It brought together representatives from Atlas Copco, BSH Appliances, PSA Group, Ford Spain and Quinton Laboratories to share ideas and best practices in relation to the health and safety of workers of all ages and to formulate a model of risk prevention for companies to follow and implement.

All 5 companies are recognised experts in the field of risk prevention, and all were national finalists of this year’s Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards competition. A booklet compiling all the awarded and commended examples of the European competition will be published on the campaign website on 26 April.

The roundtable kicked off with Atlas Copco, a multinational manufacturer of industrial tools. Since the average age of their employees is 37, they decided to introduce measures to ensure that all workers stay safe and healthy in the long term. These include implementation of training programmes, promotion of sport activities and rewarding employees’ best practices.

Continuing the theme, worldwide health product innovators Quinton Laboratories introduced their ‘Happiness relies on health’ programme which consists of a set of work-life balance policies, such as encouraging flexible hours, healthy eating and charitable work, designed to ensure employees’ satisfaction and safety during their whole working life.

Taking a slightly different approach, BSH Appliances, the largest manufacturer of home appliances in Europe, has developed a mobile application with a physical exercising programme and recommendations for treating musculoskeletal disorders. Being older than 50 and working on the assembly line were identified as main risk factors in their workplace. After 8 weeks, the number of days of sick leave has been significantly reduced. 

The expert from Ford Spain, the multinational vehicle manufacturer, explained how their engineering and ergonomic departments have started investigating new materials and ways of producing less heavy chains in order to ease the amount of physical strain placed on their employees. Reducing physical strain helps workers of all ages; it takes immediate pressure off older workers and helps prevent future health problems for younger workers.

Finally another multinational vehicle manufacturer, PSA Group, who is an Official Campaign Partner of the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign, described their new dynamic management system used for planning worker rotation, work distribution, special equipment and future requirements. Their goal is for every employee to have a job suitable to their age and capabilities.

There can be no one-size-fits-all solution, but as these 5 companies demonstrate there are numerous ways of preventing risks and creating a safe and healthy environment for workers of all ages.

The presence of journalists (representing among others Formación de Seguridad Laboral, a campaign media partner) at the meeting was important for helping these best practice examples gain visibility in the media. Coverage can help other companies learn from the ideas so that they, too, can make changes to guarantee the sustainability of work for their employees.

Don’t forget to check the events page for upcoming conferences, workshops and the like. You can also follow the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, using the hashtag #EUhealthyworkplaces to keep up to date with the latest news and events, or subscribe to our campaign newsletter.