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NIOSH Update:

Needs, Challenges, Approaches In Healthy Aging For Workers Will Be Mapped At February Conference

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 245-0645
December 9, 2008

Strategies for anticipating the occupational health and safety needs of the aging U.S. workforce will be addressed at a national conference scheduled for Feb. 17-18, 2009, in Washington, D.C. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is a co-sponsor of the conference, along with CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, the University of Maryland’s Work and Health Research Center, AARP, the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, and the Society of Occupational and Environmental Health.

By 2050, the population of people age 45 and over in the U.S. is projected to grow to more than 170 million people, from 93 million today. This is likely to mean an increasingly larger proportion of older men and women in the workforce. On average, this population will have different age-related physical characteristics, experiences, and needs than younger workers, on average. Identifying the implications of those factors for occupational safety and health, and allowing older workers to take best advantage of their skills while reducing risks for work-related injuries and illnesses, will be important for a strong U.S. economy.

“As men and women live longer, many of them wish to remain employed beyond traditional retirement years, or are in situations in which an income is critical,” said NIOSH Acting Director Christine M. Branche, Ph.D. “Older workers play a key role in providing expertise and grooming the next generation of leaders, and will continue to be key in maintaining U.S. leadership in the world market in the coming decades. We are pleased to join with our partners in planning research strategies to help keep workers and businesses healthy, robust, and thriving in the 21st Century.”

The goals of the conference are related to objectives of the National Occupational Research Agenda and to other NIOSH partnerships such as WorkLife and Research to Practice (r2p). The goals address needs, challenges, and approaches for healthy aging of workers, including research strategies to:

  • Make the impact of work on older workers part of the national policy and research agenda,
  • Understand policy and program needs and research gaps to reduce the impact of chronic
    diseases on aging workers, and to increase the ability of individuals to work as they age,
  • Understand workplace programs and policies that reduce the adverse impact of work-related
    risk on older workers,
  • Refine the research agenda proposed in a 2004 National Academy of Science (NAS) Report on the Health and Safety Needs of Older Workers,
  • Develop near-term intervention strategies (focus on primary prevention) for preventing work-
    related injury and illness associated with a growing workforce of aging workers,
  • Attend to the special case of healthy aging of construction workers and others involved in hard
    physical labor.

Participants will include occupational safety and health clinicians and practitioners, experts on aging, worker and employer representatives, federal government officials, and policymakers who are interested in and responsible for aging and workforce protection issues and policies. More information about the conference, including details about registration, can be found at http://www.soeh.org/meeting/meeting.html.

 

 
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