Australia’s population and its workforce are ageing. Ageing workers face specific occupational health and safety concerns. These include decreased physical capacity, fatigue, increased rates of musculoskeletal disorders and greater incidence of disease.2 It is important to note that while age-related deterioration in mental and physical function are inevitable, they do not necessarily lead to incapacity or reduced performance and productivity at work. In some ways older workers are the most skilled and most productive employees, but in others they are the most vulnerable.3
The workplace affords the best community opportunity for health promotion and maintenance in working adults.9 Strategies to minimise age-related problems and help older workers maintain their health and productivity, begins with young workers, and continues throughout their working lives. Physiotherapists can help with the early identification of signs of cumulative strain or degenerative change and guide the implementation of appropriate strategies to reduce these effects and their future impacts on capacity, productivity and health.
Physiotherapists are able to positively impact on the health outcomes and productivity of working Australians by working with individual clients of working age, workgroups and employers. Speak to us to find out how!
Our Physiotherapists are able to positively impact on the health outcomes and productivity of working Australians by working with individual clients of working age, workgroups and employers through:
- Injury prevention strategies including risk assessment and management
- Assisting with injury and disease management (including self-management)
- Educating employers in the management of an ageing workforce
- Dealing with the co-morbidities associated with injury, disease and age-related functional change
- Assisting the early identification of workplace or individual factors that are likely to lead to accelerated degeneration, injury or disease
- Advising ergonomic improvements such as job/task design
- Improving awareness of the benefits of activity, exercise, health/wellness and training programs
- Developing, implementing and monitoring such health promoting services and programs
- Addressing the symptoms of acute and chronic work and non work-related injury and disease
- Assessing the work ability of employees to assist with job matching
- Physiotherapists offer a wide range of services to older working Australians with age- related deterioration in function, or who have or who are at risk of developing the effects of injury and disease (both acute and chronic).
- APA specialist and titled Occupational Health Physiotherapists have a high level of expertise and experience for assisting individuals and employers to identify potential health and safety problems and develop, implement and manage programs to maintain the work ability and health of ageing Australian workers.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (2002) Labour, Hours and Work Patterns, Australian
Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.
- ASCC. (2006b) Research on the prevention of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders, Australian Safety and Compensation Council. April 2006, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. Available at: http://www.ascc.gov.au
- Silverstein, M., (2008) Meeting the challenges of an aging workforce. American Journal of
Industrial Medicine. Vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 269-280.
- WorkCover Authority of NSW (2004) Statistical Bulletin 2003–4, http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/publications. Sydney.
- Laflamme, L. and Menckel, E. (1995). Aging and occupational accidents. A review of the literature of the last three decades. Safety Science 21 (2), pp. 145-161.
- LaBar, G. (1996) The Ageing of Ergonomics. Occupational Hazards. 58: pp.32-33.
- NOHSC (2005) Surveillance Alert: OHS and the Ageing Workforce, May 2005, National Occupational Health and Safety Commission. April 2006 Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. Available at: http://www.ascc.gov.au/ascc
- Scanes, L. (2004) Address the Ageing Workforce and Fitness for Duty by Changing the Lifestyle of Workers. Proceedings of the conference on the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety, Queensland Resources Council
- Ferguson, D. (1981) Occupational health in Australia – debit and credit. Community Health
Studies. 3: pp.220-223.
- APA 2010 (a) The Ageing Australian Workforce, Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA), Position Paper.
- APA 2010 (b) The Ageing Australian Workforce APA, Background Paper.