Age related changes and safety critical work - HSE

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Health and Safety Executive

Age related changes and safety critical work Identification of tools and a review of the literature Prepared by the Health and Safety Laboratory for the Health and Safety Executive

RR946 Research Report

Health and Safety Executive

Age related changes and safety critical work Identification of tools and a review of the literature Helen Beers & Colleen Butler Harpur Hill Buxton Derbyshire SK17 9JN

The removal of a compulsory retirement age may have implications for health and safety at work, and as such is a cross-cutting issue for HSE. HSE is concerned that some workers may continue to perform tasks with deteriorating performance. This may be a particular issue in safety critical and major hazard industries, and could potentially lead to an increase in the risk of major incidents or injury. More generally, dutyholders may also be finding it difficult to judge whether workers have the functional capacity to work to the required level of safe performance. This piece of work has aimed to assess existing evidence on age related changes in performance and safety critical work, identify tools that assist dutyholders to assess human function and performance and to critically consider what the findings mean in terms of the need for future work. This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to thank Simon Bates for research input in the initial stages of this work. Thanks go to the HSE information team for their help and advice with respect to searching the literature and with sourcing research papers. Thank you also to all the experts from industry and academia and numerous organisations/institutions who provided input into the information contained in this report on tools/tests available or in development.

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CONTENTS

1 1.1

2 2.1 2.2

3

INTRODUCTION......................................................................................... 9

Research Aims and questions ............................................................................ 9

METHOD................................................................................................... 11

Identification of tools ......................................................................................... 11

Literature search ............................................................................................... 12

RESULTS ................................................................................................. 14

3.1 What tools are available for dutyholders to use in order to assess decrements in

human function, capabilities and Performance? Why have these tools been developed?

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3.2 Literature review: Overview of papers and context........................................... 17

3.3 Aviation sector: Background and findings......................................................... 30

3.4 Which age related changes result in decreased performance at work? ........... 32

3.5