Minimizing Musculoskeletal Discomfort in the Workplace
An Age Based Approach
America’s work force is aging but very little is known about functional limitations (e.g., changes in vision, hearing, musculoskeletal system) and how that affects individual performance, productivity and the needs of aging workers. Four hundred eight employees at a college campus completed a web-based questionnaire. There was a significant difference between older and younger workers with regards to both mental and physical health compared to five years ago. Older workers (ages 45 and over) reported greater degrees of physical declines than younger respondents. The largest decline in older respondents was found in eyesight followed by upper/lower back strength and muscle strength. As for specific changes in mental health characteristics, older respondents showed greater degrees of decline in memory, reaction time, and learning ability. Workers that participated in ergonomics training were more likely to change their work environment to reduce discomfort and enhance their performance. Health promotion programs of this type should be encouraged by employers.