The Age Factor in the Analysis of Occupational Risks in the Wood Industry

Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Jul 21;10(7):1355. doi: 10.3390/healthcare10071355.

Abstract

Workers in the wood industry are continually exposed to a wide range of risks. Some risks are potentially high and may lead to serious work-related accidents or occupational diseases. It is a sector where physical work is predominant and where high-risk machinery is used. There is also the age factor, as the age of the workforce increases the risks of loss of skills, particularly physical skills. This study analyses the impact of age on the occupational safety and health management in the wood industry. To this end, a qualitative analysis was carried out through semi-structured in-depth interviews. A total of 52 interviews were conducted with wood-based entrepreneurs, occupational safety technicians and experts from Galicia (Spain). The results show that there is a growing concern to integrate the older group in occupational safety and health management due to the increasing work life. The older group is not the one with the greatest number of occupational accidents (8.3%), but rather the one that needs better working conditions in the face of physical deterioration, considering that a large proportion of senior workers is transferred to administrative tasks. Consequently, the proportion of older workers performing physical tasks, which are the tasks with the highest associated risk, is lower.

Keywords: age; occupational risks; occupational safety and health; senior; wood industry.

Grant support

This research received no external funding.