Managing the ageing workforce: Issues and opportunities for the Queensland mining industry

Parker, Tony W. & Worringham, Charles J. (2004) Managing the ageing workforce: Issues and opportunities for the Queensland mining industry. In Queensland Mining Industry Health & Safety Conference, 4-7 August 2004, Townsville, Queensland.


Ageing of the workforce, with more than 80% of Australian workforce growth between 1998 and 2016 projected to be in those over 45 (ABS, 1999), is a key issue in coal mining. New strategies based on an understanding of the match between the workplace and the older worker are needed to address the relatively high attrition rates of older workers, the significant level of impairment and reduction in the quality of life in retirement, especially with fewer younger workers entering the industry. Queensland and New South Wales data shows that workers over 40 have a higher incidence of musculoskeletal injury, more severe injuries and disability, require more intensive medical care, and take longer to return to work than their younger counterparts. There are also significant costs e.g. hospitalization, lost productivity and loss of independence associated with injury to older workers. Overall, industries have often ‘managed’ the older worker issue through potentially discriminatory redundancies, particularly in recessionary periods. Older workers may also leave because of impairment or disability from cumulative exposure to adverse working conditions. Currently, the lack of credible exit data in coal-mining makes specific comparison difficult. Data is presented on the relative absence of accommodation strategies for older coal-miners in Qld and NSW, and consideration is given to measures in addition to job reassignment and allocation of less physically demanding work, the predominant methods currently used.

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ID Code: 1030
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Aging, work, health, mining, workforce
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 15 Apr 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:24

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