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Adapting to the ageing workforce: EU-OSHA publishes report

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European countries responding to the ageing workforce challenge purely by preventing early retirement or restricting disability benefit claims will fail, says a new report.


The report, Towards age-friendly work in Europe: a life-course perspective on work and ageing from EU Agencies, coordinated by EU-OSHA, highlights various challenges associated with an ageing workforce. It includes recent research, country case studies and solutions for policy makers by its authors which are four European agencies.

In the chapter by EU-OSHA, it looks at the relationship between ageing and health and argues for a multidisciplinary policy for ageing and OSH.

It notes that countries across Europe have responded to the ageing workforce challenge by raising the official retirement age and increasing the minimum number of years of contributions.

Another measure ‘frequently taken’, it says, is limiting the possibilities for early retirement and restricting disability claims.

Reforms have resulted in higher employment rates of older people in Europe it says.

The report argues on the contrary that: “Such measures alone will fail. An ageing workforce leads to increasing chronic diseases and higher risks of disabilities. Changes need to go hand in hand with measures for preventing ill-health and supporting active and healthy ageing in the workplace.”

EU-OSHA holds up as successful approaches more recent strategies adopted by countries including Austria and France which take a ‘holistic life-course approach’. 

They do not focus on older workers but instead aim for better risk prevention and health promotion more generally, with accompanying measures such as early intervention to ensure working lives are longer and healthier, says the report. Many of them include the prevention of chronic diseases as one of the priority targets.

To read the report published on 29 June 2017 click here

The report was co-ordinated by EU-OSHA and has chapters from European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).

 

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