The ageing workforce: Implications for occupational hygienists

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There is an abundant amount of information regarding the ageing population in the Western world. In Australia, we expect the ageing population to result in an ageing workforce. In the United States, it has been estimated that the average working age will be raised from 35 years in 1980 to 41 years by 2008. This means that the average worker will not only be older in the next decade, but it is also likely that retention rates of workers over 55 years of age will increase dramatically. The implications for occupational hygienists may be many with this developing trend. This paper reviews some of the classic hazards and controls that occupational hygienists deal with on a daily basis, but in the context of the different physical and cognitive function characteristics of an ageing workforce. With an ageing workforce, exposure standards for chemical and physical hazards will need re-evaluation, reliance on personal protective equipment will need to be reduced, and surveillance of the workforce will become increasingly important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-239
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational Health and Safety - Australia and New Zealand
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007


  • Ageing
  • Exposure standards
  • Occupational health
  • Workforce

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