As an employer, it’s your responsibility to provide a safe workplace and comply with all standards, rules, and regulations.Depending on your local laws, you may have extra responsibility towards your team’s more vulnerable employees, such as the elderly.
Here are some tips that can make your office safer for your older workers.
1. Develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan
Although COVID-19 can harm anyone, it’s especially hazardous for older people. People above the age of 50 are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. And with one in four American workers above the age of 55, it’s critical for offices to adopt COVID-19 safety plans.
Your first step is to allow workers who are more susceptible to COVID-19 to work from home, if possible. Pair them with employees who are more tech-savvy if they need support understanding remote working software.
At the same time, you should adopt several measures to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak at the office:
- All workers entering the building must be screened for COVID-19 by an employee in safety gear
- Objects and surfaces in the office should be regularly disinfected
- Workers must have access to safety gear such as masks or face shields
- Hand sanitizer should be readily available
- Workers should be allowed to self-isolate or take sick leave if they display COVID-19 symptoms
- Employees must be trained to follow physical distancing protocols of at least two meters
- Employees must also follow coughing and sneezing etiquette to minimize the spread of germs
Aside from employees, your COVID-19 safety plan must be shared with anyone entering the office, such as suppliers, contractors, etc.
2. Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan
Did you know that the fire death rate for older people is 20 percent higher than the national average? Unfortunately, when a fire strikes an office building, older workers are less likely to survive because they get left behind during an evacuation.
If you own an office building with multiple floors, then it’s critical to place evacuation chairs for stairs at each level of the building near emergency exits. These chairs are easily trainable and strong enough to carry up to 400lbs. The right evacuation chair can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.
In addition, make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in each sensitive location of the building. Water sprinklers can buy your employees precious time during an emergency. And fire extinguishers and fire blankets must be placed at key locations. Employee training can help your staff follow a safety plan and learn how to use fire safety tools.
3. Adopt Flexibility
Allow older employees to have flexible hours, tasks, and conditions in order to make the office more age-friendly. For additional support, train your supervisors in aging workforce management skills. When adopting new technology at the office, provide training and support to older workers who need help.
These are three essential safety tips for your older workers at the office. Remember, an age-friendly workplace is good for your aged worker’s health and your office’s productivity.