How Long Until Your Job Hurts You?

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How Long Until Your Job Hurts You?

31/10/2014

With the average age of an Australian worker set to keep on rising, progressive companies are looking more closely at the risks faced by older workers in the workplace.

However for many jobs and roles, how long a person can perform the tasks required by the job can vary significantly, and they may be at risk of being too ‘old’ for the job at an age far younger than you’d expect.

Computer Prediction for Current Career Change

The German Social Accident Insurance, DGUV, Germany is developing a Digital Guide to evaluate a person’s health in the context of their current role, and provide a prediction for how long the individual could reasonably continue in the role before significantly increasing their risk of a workplace injury/disability.

At the heart of the Digital Guide is an IT instrument that uses a database of occupational profiles, including the specific hazards and requirements associated with each occupation, and compares this information against an individual’s personal profile e.g. skills and health status.

The result is not only an assessment of the person’s viable lifetime in their current career, but also a list of occupations for a suitable ‘horizontal career change’, including links to guidance and support to aid in that change.

The idea being to encourage organisations to retrain workers for a horizontal career change prior to injury.

Case Study

One company, who operates in the construction field, assessed their workforce to identify those workers who were approaching a work “lifetime point” where they had a greatly increased risk of sustaining a disability.

The company paid for these workers to be re-trained (to gain new qualifications), and assisted them in transitioning to another role, generally with another company. It cost an estimated $15,000 per worker to run this project (including supplementing the worker’s income for one year to compensate for the lower wage that the transition resulted in), however with a potential disability cost running to $50,000+, the cost vs benefit analysis was regarded as highly positive.

Benefits of Horizontal Career Change

By proactively assessing a worker in the context of their role, businesses can identify when they are likely to reach a point where the risk of an injury or illness significantly increase. Allowing companies to proactively implement steps and programs, to either increase the personal health of their workers, or assist them to move to another career. Thus mitigating the high cost, both financial and personal, of a workplace injury and improving an individual’s work lifetime.

For additional information see http://www.dguv.de/ifa/Forschung/Projektverzeichnis/IAG420009- 2.jsp or contact Stephen Weber at Safety Action on Tel: 9690 6311

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