By 2030, workers aged 55-64 are expected to make up 30 % or more of the workforce in many European countries. The retirement age is increasing in many Member States and many workers are likely to face longer working lives. Efforts must therefore be made to ensure safe and healthy conditions throughout working life.
The Europe 2020 strategy identifies demographic change as one of the major challenges that Europe faces. To address this, the European Union (EU) Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020 outlines measures to promote good practice and improve occupational safety and health (OSH) conditions for all workers.
The ageing workforce presents various challenges for all those involved in managing OSH:
- Longer working lives may result in longer exposure to risks.
- There will be more workers with chronic health problems and specific needs.
- Older workers might be more vulnerable to certain safety and health hazards.
- The high rate of work-related health problems in sectors and jobs that involve a heavy physical and/or mental workload, manual work or atypical working hours must be taken into account.
- Disability prevention, rehabilitation and return to work are of increased importance.
- At the society level, age discrimination needs to be dealt with.