Facilitating healthy ageing in construction: stakeholder views

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how the experience and knowledge of construction workers can be utilised to encourage healthy ageing and facilitate healthy working behaviours.The population is ageing globally leading to an increasingly ageing workforce and with the abolishment of an official retirement age working into later life is becoming commonplace. Natural age-related declines such as reduced vision, hearing and muscle strength make it difficult to remain in industries such as construction where heavy manual labour is commonplace. A previous study by the authors found that construction workers have good ideas for both maintaining and improving their health and well-being at work. Workers suggested solutions which could facilitate healthy ageing such as improving facilities and personal protective equipment and wanting better knowledge transfer systems such as more apprentices to pass their knowledge on to. This paper discusses how these findings could be used in the construction industry to improve health, well-being and healthy ageing.Focus groups with industry stakeholders presented them with these ideas; they were asked about their perceptions of older workers and how they thought the ideas suggested by their workforce could be used to improve health, well-being and ageing. Barriers and opportunities to change were investigated and stakeholders were encouraged to consider how they could encourage involvement of their workers using participatory ergonomics techniques.Stakeholders were positive about the older workforce and were keen to promote change within their companies. This research forms part of a larger study, sponsored by Age UK’s Research into Ageing Fund, which aims to produce a resource for dissemination across the industry, encouraging engagement of the workforce to facilitate healthy working behaviours. It is essential that ideas from workers are harnessed and utilised to ensure that all workers can age healthily at work.