If it is synonymous with experience, age also goes hand in hand with increased vulnerability to certain risks. Hence the need to spare and organize.
“Aging does not happen at the T-time of the day. It is a continuous process, it follows the life course in which the capacities are transformed, the skills evolve and the practices change. If it can rely on quality working conditions, it is a chance for the individual “, notes Catherine Delgoulet, teacher-researcher at Labor Adaptations Laboratory individual work of the University Paris Descartes.
The 50 years mark is a challenge in the professional world. Not that one is less able to work than before. But with age, our recovery abilities diminish with certain tasks. It is all the more true that one finds oneself subjected to temporal, physical, psychic or organization-related constraints: chain work, carrying heavy loads, awkward postures, atypical schedules, sudden changes in methods and work schedules, etc. Under these conditions, the decline associated with aging can increase, and our health may be threatened. Admittedly, accidents at work are less frequent among seniors than among other employees. But they turn out, on the other hand, more serious. Hence the importance of acting upstream …
Rarer but more serious accidents
Based on accident reports, two experts from the National Institute for Research and Security underline: “It is often mentioned a more responsible behavior of seniors compared to the younger ones vis-à-vis the security”. But in their analysis, Claire Tissot and Jean-Claude Bastide note that “some accounts showcases of underestimation of risk despite confirmed professional experience”. The two researchers note, moreover, that “the seriousness of the accident is the first criterion which characterizes the aging workers”, with 72% of fatal accidents among the over 45s, against 56% below this age.
A trend that has just confirmed the survey published last April by Public Health France, whose report points to the period 2011/2012 a serious accident rate twice as high beyond 50 years (12% against 6 %) for workers in the general scheme and the agricultural employer’s scheme. As Julien Brière, an epidemiologist at the National Agency for Public Health, explains, “the phenomenon is even more marked among women, with a higher frequency of accidents than for all employees for falls from height or height. -foot – that is, slips, missteps or loss of balance “. Based on this observation, he insists on the need for prevention campaigns. But concretely, how to make everyone age well at work?
Need four times more light
The INRS experts are not short of proposals. With regard to physical work, they recommend that, as far as possible, the most difficult tasks for older people be eliminated, relying on mechanical assistance (for example, lifting machines). Or, to call on the collective work, so that the violent efforts are spared the older while favoring rotations to avoid fatigue and the wear of repeated actions over too long periods.
At the same time, it is also suggested to optimize the organization between employees, to avoid atypical schedules for senior citizens, and to prevent their work rate being dictated by machines or inexperienced young people. Finally, the INRS recommends reducing the noise level, coupling sound, and visual messages, and adapting the noise level.
lighting workstations: at 60 years, we need four times more light than 20 years to see well.
Such recommendations overlap with those of Top Employers Institute. Specialized in the certification of the quality of working conditions – all ages – this organization focuses on several points: the need for quiet workspaces, the existence of sports equipment, the possibility of telecommuting, listening to employees, or the provision of tools to drive training and well-being. Such advice has, it seems, advanced Finland, a country today in the European average for the employment of seniors (with a rate of 63%), and yet very much behind ten years ago. years (with only 35%). As for France, some large companies have signed collective agreements, for example, to facilitate the transition to part-time work or telecommuting from the age of 54.
Still, in general, age is too often perceived negatively in the world of work: it comes at the top of the grounds of discrimination according to the latest barometer of the perception of discrimination in the employment of the International Labor Office. And it is urgent to remedy this, considering that the aging of the population at work is an evolution that needs to be taken into account.