Implications of an Aging Workforce: Work Injury, Recovery, Returning to Work and Remaining at Work
Friday, November 22, 2019 at 11:00 AM PT, 2:00 PM ET
The Canadian population aged 65 and over is expected to double over the next 25 years. The Canadian workforce is also ageing with the average age of workers predicted to continue to rise until 2031. However it is unclear whether Canadian companies have addressed the impact of an aging workforce on occupational health. Employers have questions about the implications for work injury, recovery, return to work and remaining at work. Findings from recent studies suggest age is not strongly associated with increased injury rates but is associated with longer return to work time once injured. Workplaces should consider strategies for healthy ageing to address an ageing workforce.
You will learn
- About the research on associations between age and work-related injuries as well as recovery from injury
- That research points to programs and policies that are flexible in providing accommodation as needed and that support autonomy among workers
- How the WHO World Report on Ageing and Health can provide guidance for workplaces
- Older workers are not, on average, at greater risk of work-related injuries than their younger counterparts. However, if they do get hurt on the job, older workers tend, on average, to take longer to return to work.
- Longer post-injury absences are not explained by older workers having more severe injuries or certain types of injuries, or by their working in more physically demanding jobs.
- Longer absences post-injury are explained in part by the greater likelihood of older workers having pre-existing chronic conditions.
- Workplace factors may explain the longer absences, including ageism.
Dwayne Van Eerd, Ph.D.
Scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, Canada
Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd is a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, where he has been a researcher since 1997. He has an MSc and BSc in kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, an MSc in health research methodology from McMaster University, and a PhD in work and health from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. Upon getting his MSc in kinesiology, Van Eerd got his start in occupational health and safety research in a clinical setting, studying musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in performing artists. Now a scientist with the Institute for Work & Health, he focuses prevention of work-related injuries and disorders. His research projects have included evaluations of participatory organizational change programs and training interventions, as well as systematic reviews of the prevention literature. Recent projects include synthesizing practice evidence with research evidence for better practices in mental health and MSDs.