The Health Implications of an Aging Workforce and What It Means to the Semiconductor Industry

Blink, Robert
(American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Western Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association)

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The number of workers 55 or older will increase almost 50 percent between 1998 and 2008, while those between 25 and 54 will increase only 5.5 percent. Physiological changes associated with aging that are likely to directly impact upon worker productivity include decreases in: –Sensory functions (auditory and visual); –Motor functions (musculoskeletal strength and endurance, reaction time); –Cardiorespiratory functions (aerobic power). As the worker population gets older, safety and personnel challenges arise due to both natural aging and the cumulative effects of medical problems. These physiologic changes increase risks of injury from ergonomic/ mechanical, chemical and other hazards. Productivity will be further impacted because of a greater disease burden affecting the workforce. In addition, although employees aged over 45 have accidents less frequently, when they do occur they are more severe and take longer to recover. A discussion is presented on the most important bodily systems affected and how these issues can be handled in a way that minimizes risk while maximizing productivity and protecting the legitimate interests of employers and employees alike. Participants in the Session will: –Learn to list the emergence of common health disorders that are increasingly prevalent with age –What wellness strategies to deploy to target this population –When and how to accommodate health issues for the older key employee –Learn how targeted health interventions can de-escalate work-related injuries

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