Health and wellbeing

pool of water

Your health and wellbeing at work is a shared responsibility between you and your employer.

This section includes key points to consider, actions to take forward and links to useful information and resources.

Key points
  • By law, employers must provide a safe working environment for their staff. This should be assessed using risk assessments, which should take the age of staff into account.
  • Older staff generally tend to have less frequent periods of sickness absence, but when they are off sick, it tends to be for a longer period of time.
  • Staff need access to a proactive occupational health department. Running health promotion activities to help them keep fit and healthy and dedicated access to early interventions like physiotherapy and counselling is important. 
  • Most disabled people develop their impairment during the course of their working life. And unfortunately, some staff are injured or may develop chronic health conditions as a result of their work.  
  • Employers have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for staff with disabilities to enable them to continue working. These are often simple to implement and low in cost.
  • Many older workers need to change the way in which they work or the way their job is designed in order to enable them to keep working safely to a later age.
Key actions
  • Do not underestimate the cumulative impact of years of stress and heavy workloads may have on you.  You may need to work in a different or less demanding job in the later stages of your working life.
  • Think about the things you do now that may cause you problems in the future.  Speak to your trade union representative if necessary for advice and support.
  • Don’t feel guilty about expressing your health and wellbeing needs. Changes you achieve may help others too.
  • Be prepared to discuss your changing needs with your line manager at an early stage, including potential changes to job design, shift patterns etc.
  • Make sure you are aware of the occupational health services that are available to you.

For health and safety representatives

The Health and Safety Executive recommends risk assessments take age into account but warns against making assumptions about age that may not be true for all employees. 

Useful information and resources

Health and safety for older workers: Health and Safety Executive
Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group: resources from the group
Health of the 'baby boomer' generation: Government report

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