Sustainable employability for older workers: An explorative survey of belgian companies

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Background: The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) is developing an online e-guide, which will provide tips and practical information for each EU country (in their national language(s)) on ageing and occupational health and safety. The e-guide will be launched in 2016 as part of the EU-OSHA campaign on Healthy Workplaces for all ages. The e-guide will present evidence, tools and practical examples of how companies can take action and effectively promote sustainable employability. Methods: As part of the development of the e-guide, a cross-sectional study was conducted to survey Belgian employers in April 2015 to determine their specific needs concerning older workers' occupational health and safety issues. Researchers from Milieu Ltd. (Brussels, Belgium), the consultancy company coordinating the e-guide project, and Mensura Occupational Health Services (Brussels, Belgium) developed a 13-item questionnaire. The survey addressed the needs and importance given to sustainable employability of older workers in Belgian companies and evaluated corporate knowledge regarding relevant national policies. The questionnaire was distributed electronically to the management of 22,084 private-sector companies affiliated with Mensura. Results: Ten percent (n = 2133) of recipients opened the e-mail, and 37% (n = 790) of these completed the questionnaire. In 89% of the responding companies, sustainable employability of workers aged ≥55years plays an important role; 70% have no active sustainable employability policy/initiative; 18% experience difficulties promoting sustainable employability; and 86% indicate no need for support to promote sustainable employability. Respondents noted the following health complaints among workers aged ≥55years: work-related health problems (31%), stress (26%), work agreements/type of work (17%), work/life balance (15%), and career development and/or training (9%). Topics concerning health and well-being of workers aged ≥55years requiring the most attention include motivation (30%) and adaptation of the workplace to their health requirements (26%). Conclusions: The e-guide should raise further awareness among employers about the importance of implementing an active sustainable employability policy to prolong working life in a healthy and productive way. The e-guide should also include tools to address work-related health problems and stress, motivation, and adaptation of the workplace to the health requirements of workers aged ≥55years.




Verbrugghe, M., Kuipers, Y., Vriesacker, B., Peeters, I., & Mortelmans, K. (2016). Sustainable employability for older workers: An explorative survey of belgian companies. Archives of Public Health, 74(1).

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