Like most developed countries, Australia's population is ageing, and this trend will be accompanied by a proportional increase in older employees in our workforce. Researchers interviewed ageing workers to gather information that will help organisations and workplaces prepare for the challenges ahead.
By 2012, a number of studies had already been conducted around this subject with most centred around existing statistics and analysis.The Prevention Research Unit of the Victorian Institute for Forensic Medicine also conducted a scoping study into activities undertaken by employer groups and unions.
A major research gap was identified: there was little information from the perspective of workers in relation to ageing and injury risk.
Professor Joan Ozanne-Smith from Monash's Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences led a research team to study this aspect of workspace health and safety.
Through a focus group study, the research team sought out views from workers, and compared these to opinions provided by industries, in order to identify any areas of risk that would benefit from intervention.
This project concluded in 2013 with the delivery of a final report.
The report includes several recommendations designed to reduce the injury risk associated with ongoing hard physical labour alongside declining strength, balance,sensory and cognitive skills. The recommended changes include the introduction of more flexible working arrangements and additional retraining opportunities for this group of workers.