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Ensuring the safety of older workers in California

Safety training is important in any industry that involves physical labor, especially when the workforce spans three or sometimes four generations. The presence of older workers reflects the fact that more and more people are deferring retirement past the traditional 60-to-65 age range.

Employees must consider several factors before trying to create effective safety training. The elderly tend to be less familiar with technological advances. However, it has been shown that older adults embrace new technology once they get a handle on it. For example, a 2013 Pew Research Center survey found that among older adults who use the internet, 71 percent go online every day.

By doing things in a set way, older employees show a thorough knowledge of workplace procedures, which younger workers can learn from. This is why employers are encouraged to build teamwork between older and younger employees. Safety training should avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and mix methods, such as longer videos or lectures for older adults and more interactive lessons for the younger employees. To further ensure the safety of older employees, employers should regularly check in to see if staff members are still physically capable of the same tasks.

Unfortunately, companies with hundreds of employees may not have adequate safety training. If unsafe working conditions lead, for instance, to a slip and fall or to chemical exposure, the victim may want to speak with a lawyer about filing either a workers' compensation claim or a civil lawsuit. The latter may result in a larger settlement. However, a lawyer may suggest that it should only be pursued if there is proof of the employer's gross negligence, or proof that the employer was reckless, not just careless.

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