The Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity (SPARC) has released a study of older workers investigating the needs and abilities of older workers in the construction industry and providing insight into how the working environment may be improved to accommodate those needs. According to "Understanding the Older Worker in Construction", led by Professor Alistair Gibb of Loughborough University, one of the most important issues affecting older workers is employment tenure--being directly employed rather than self-employed is associated with a more favourable working environment for the older worker.
The research suggested that by easing the physical burden of the work wherever possible and by developing interventions to encourage all workers to follow safe practice, work-related injury and ill-health could be largely prevented in the long-term, allowing older workers to remain in the industry for longer. While the findings provide much evidence of the desire of older construction workers to remain in the industry, they also show how the attractions of employing young, cheap immigrant labour far outweigh any desire by the industry to take care of its older workers, so that, in effect, the taxpayer picks up the cost of workplace induced sickness, ill-health and injury.
Source: Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity News Release (January 22, 2008)