Your Ageing Workforce – are you helping them stay injury-free and healthy?

Your Ageing Workforce – are you helping them stay injury-free and healthy?

By Terry Wong.

Our research with companies around Australia reveals 3 main concerns about Australia’s ageing workforce:

  1. The increasing likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries
  2. A decreasing ability for employees to physically perform the job
  3. What to do with employees when they can no longer perform their role

So, what’s the solution? There is no silver bullet but here’s a few tips to get you started.

The answer is likely to be right under your nose. There is a high likelihood that you have employees who are ageing well. Finding them, learning from them and then replicating what they do is the secret. This approach is one we have used for years to solve workplace sprain & strain problems – find great movers who aren’t getting hurt, study them and copy them.

We’ve been working with people who are ageing well in the workplace and we think we’ve uncovered some secrets. While each individual has had their own personal message, here are the 3 most common insights.

#1 It’s all in your head. These days, people tend to accept that with age, comes the expectation of more aches and pains. Almost like it’s inevitable. In fact, 33% of all of people who complete our MOVE Training Program cite “getting old” as the reason they have aches and pains.

There is no doubt that aches and pains are increasingly common… but it is not normal. We need to change that mindset. The way we think about ageing drastically impacts on how well we age.

#2 Move more. Companies are facing the increasingly sedentary nature of their employees’ lives. This is compounded by the ongoing elimination of some manual handling tasks so that elements of physicality in the workplace are being removed and replaced by robots and other engineering wonders. Slowly but surely, our physical resilience is being eroded.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for eliminating tasks that are likely to cause harm, but we need to acknowledge that increasing automation and technology is a double-edged sword for our health. By removing physicality, we lose condition, become increasingly sedentary and are more likely to end up fat, lazy and sick.

To offset this imbalance and acknowledge our evolutionary desire to move, we need to increase our “incidental” movement (the exercise we get as part of our daily activities) AND manufacture “intentional” exercise opportunities, like offering exercise classes and gym membership subsidies.

#3 Move better. If you take the time to observe the way an “experienced” employee works, it is likely the way they move is finely-tuned and highly efficient. Borne out of millions of repetitions and through trial and error their bodies have forged a brain-body connection that results in staying injury-free and highly productive. Marry that with emerging research in movement science and you have a movement patterns that reveals the way the human body is designed to move.

That’s what we’ve been teaching in MOVE Training for over a decade. 95%+ of people say that the movement patterns they learn are more comfortable on their body than what they have been doing. The challenge is to help everybody make those adjustments and move better.

CLICK HERE to buy your ticket to the NSW Regional Safety Conference & Expo and get the chance to listen to Terry’s story for yourself.