By DAN REYNOLDS, senior editor of Risk & InsuranceŽ
The first thing to keep in mind when managing a workforce is that everybody's workforce is aging. The second thing is that creating safe working conditions for older workers means creating safer working conditions for all your workers. That's because your younger worker now will be your older worker later.
That was one of the clearest take-aways from risk and benefits expert Eva LaBonte's presentation Thursday at the 19th Annual National Workers' Compensation and Disability ConferenceŽ & Expo.
LaBonte, a risk and benefits analyst for Clean Water Services in Hillsboro, Ore., said companies would be smart to make hanging onto their older workers a priority.
Companies are going to need them, she said. Older workers hold volumes of "tacit knowledge" in their craniums, tacit knowledge being that wealth of intangible institutional and industry knowledge that a worker possesses.
But as those of us who have crested the age of 50 know, older bodies are breaking down and it is crucial in managing workers' compensation costs to create clear documentation between what constitutes a workplace injury and what constitutes the normal wear and tear and degeneration of that older body.
Companies can go a long way to retaining older workers by feeding them good snacks, and showing them you care. Those older employees are too great a treasure to treat shabbily, LaBonte said.
November 11, 2010
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