Fabian Demicoli

Active Ageing

 The Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA-MT) in collaboration with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OHSA), has last week organized a seminar on Active Ageing and Occupational Health and Safety.The Seminar delved into areas pertaining to active ageing and management of occupational health and safety and provided insights and practical measures to address occupational health and safety matters in respect to ageing workforce.

Amongst the speakers were Hon Dr Helena Dalli, Hon Dr Justine Caruana, Hon Dr Deo Debattista and Dr Mark Gauci. Other speeches were delivered by key-position holders. The seminar also included interventions from Social Partners.

 Malta like all other European countries, is experiencing an ageing population and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. Although this is an indicator of social and economic progress, it also brings about significant challenges to public policy. Encouraging active participation within the labour market up to and subsequent to retirement age facilitates economic growth, promotes sustainability of the pension systems and helps in managing the rising financial burdens of social protection systems.

GRTU believes that active ageing can be encouraged by, supporting older people to remain active by working longer, engaging in volunteer work after retirement and leading a healthy and autonomous life.

However, to facilitate an increase in the rate of employment amongst ageing individuals, there must be a comprehensive support system to the ageing workforce, both in relation to National policy as well as support from employers.                                                                 

GRTU suggests reforms to unemployment benefit systems and disability pensions and benefits. Encourage life long learning in education, training and skills, and creating subsidies to recruit older workers. Create a positive attitude amongst business enterprise by ensuring productivity and adaptability by updating skills throughout an individual’s working career. Maintain a high level of motivation by offering flexible hours.

In order to have better health and an increase in life expectancy, workplaces must be healthier and safer. Occupational health and safety plays an important role in the promotion and sustainability of active ageing in the workplace. Each workplace is distinct in relation to the risks it places on workers, in particular older workers, hence the need to take into account ageing factors when developing and implementing occupational health and safety measures. This requires a specific and systematic approach.

 

GRTU believes that inter-generational engagement and succession planning by creating age diverse teams will lead to the gaining of different experience and skills. Encouraging companies to include HR strategies to implement effective succession is another proposal.

 

Correct succession planning will both encourage younger and older generations of workers because it will be able to outline the prospective future.

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