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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has launched a virtual center to promote safety among older workers.
Hosted by the NIOSH office for Total Worker Health, the National Center for Productive Aging and Work will help employers address the needs and challenges of aging workers by providing them with interventions and best practices, the institute said in a statement last week.
Solutions include offering flexible work schedules, avoiding prolonged sedentary work and providing lifestyle interventions, such as healthy meal options and onsite medical care, according to the center.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in five American workers is older than 65, and one in four will be older than 55 by 2020.
Experts agree that while older workers are less likely to be injured on the job, those who are hurt often take longer to return to work at full capacity.
“Either by necessity or by choice, Americans are working longer than ever before,” NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard said in the statement. “Optimizing working conditions to match the reality that every worker is aging, from the first day on the job to the last, is essential. If our nation is to maximize its economic potential and keep workers safe and healthy, we must make this area of research a top priority.”
Better strategies are needed to ensure health care workers don't come in contact with contaminants while removing personal protective equipment, experts say.