COPING WITH GENERATIONAL TRANSITIONS
By Mike Salsgiver, Executive Director of AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter
The baby boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, account for about one third of the U.S. population. With older workers, new challenges emerge to assure their safety and health. While many are reaching retirement, others continue to work in the construction trades.
Construction is characteristically heavy work and more than 70% of back, knee, and shoulder injuries occur in older workers. These tend to be higher costs injuries due to time lost from work, longer recovery times delaying their return to work, higher medical costs from surgeries, and vocational rehabilitation when necessary for retraining.
Aging workers are inherently disadvantaged by their diminishing ability to continue meeting the challenging physical requirements of the industry. But baby boomers have an opportunity to take advantages of processes that improve work conditions that make them safer.
There are many tangible benefits to keeping baby boomers in the workforce despite the challenges. Experience, stability, work ethics, loyalty, and dedication are all part of that generation's contribution to the construction industry.
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