Friday, 31 October 2014

The Health and Safety of Older Workers

There are more people aged over 50 in employment than ever before- and numbers are increasing. This is based on the Government's own figures, in a June 2014 report called Fuller Working Lives.  Increases in State Pension age, and the attacks on Teachers' Pensions mean that this will increasingly be a feature in our schools.

The TUC has produced some excellent guidance in a document entitled The Health and Safety of Older Workers.  This recommends that reps ask their employers to consider the following:

  • Does the employer have a policy on how they are going to retain and support older workers ?
  • Are line managers trained on how to develop and support older workers ?
  • Are risk assessments done that take into account individual needs and abilities ?
  • Have these risk assessments identified possible risks that may be more likely to affect older workers ?
  • Are union health and safety reps consulted on these risk assessments, and do they involve older workers ?
  • Is training offered to all workers, regardless of age, and is it flexible enough to ensure that it is appropriate for all groups ?
  • Do workers have access to occupational health services ?
  • Are older workers given time off for regular health and eye checks ?
  • Do workers have access to facilities such as Employee Assistance, fitness and nutrition programmes that are appropriate for all ages and genders ?
NUT reps should also monitor how appraisal and so-called capability procedures are written and implemented, as there is significant anecdotal evidence that these are being used in a way that is detrimental to older (and often more expensive) teachers.  If this is the case in your school, you should contact the Division without delay.

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