Ageing Productively through Design: A Survey of Cement Manufacturing Workers

By Elaine Yolande Gosling, Diane Elizabeth Gyi, Alistair Gibb and Roger Haslam.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

By 2020 it is predicted that there will be nearly five million people aged 50 and over in the UK. People’s ability to stay in work is affected by their health, and ageing can contribute to increased physical illness. With the need for a longer working life, it is essential to understand what effect work environments and equipment design will have in relation to healthy ageing. Through this, it is possible to establish good design practice and ergonomics to promote healthy working through life. For this investigation, a questionnaire survey was conducted with workers from a cement manufacturer in the UK. It focused on how work environments and equipment design affect peoples work ability. Furthermore, individual worker experiences around working later into life were captured. Particular attention was given to the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms, and worker perceptions with regard to their physical and mental wellbeing at work. Musculoskeletal symptoms peaked in the lower back for the workers at the cement manufacturers and it is likely that work activity; sitting, standing and lifting, as well as equipment including; PPE, computers and tools, has an impact on work ability. Also, it was shown through a set of age related statements, that there may be a link between work ability and age in relation to peoples physical and mental abilities to perform job tasks. The results of the questionnaire survey will be presented and discussed with reference to age and job activity description.

Keywords: Ageing, Ergonomics, Work Environment

Aging and Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.1-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.923MB).

Dr. Elaine Yolande Gosling

Research Associate, Loughborough Design School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

Elaine Yolande Williams PhD BA, is a Research Associate in Loughborough Design School at Loughborough University. She is working on a New Dynamics of Ageing project called ‘Working Late’. Her background is in Industrial Product Design and her research interests include; User-Centred, Inclusive and Co-Design. The ‘Working Late’ research project is examining the ways in which design impacts on work ability and will focus on the role of good design and ergonomics for the promotion of healthy working in relation to ageing. The findings of this research will be used to create an online resource called OWL (Organiser for Working Late) which will help employers to understand how best to support employees in productively Working Late.

Dr. Diane Elizabeth Gyi

Reader in Health Ergonomics and Design, Loughborough Design School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

Diane Gyi PhD MSc DipCOT MIEHF, is a Reader in Health Ergonomics and Design in Loughborough Design School at Loughborough University. She has significant experience of research in the areas of health ergonomics (work related musculoskeletal problems e.g. driving, construction) and applying this to the design of products, services and systems. Recent and current projects include preventing and managing the risks of back pain in business drivers funded by the HSE/DoH (2000) and more recently by The Bupa Foundation (2007); developing ergonomics data, methods and tools for design teams (EPSRC 1999, 2004 and 2007); and improving the user experience of ‘smart’ home technology (the Dti, 2003). Previously, she has worked as an Occupational Therapist for 7 years which has given her insight into the damaging effects that poorly designed equipment and facilities can have on confidence, mobility and quality of life. Diane is currently a Scientific Editor for Applied Ergonomics, and a member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. She has also been a Member of several Networks e.g. the Steering Group of the EPSRC EQUAL Network (2001–2003) and the EPSRC Peer Review College (2003– 2005). In addition, her research has been widely published in journals and conference proceedings.

Prof. Alistair Gibb

Professor of Construction Engineering Management, Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

Alistair Gibb PhD BSc CEng MICE MCIOB, is a Professor of Construction Engineering Management in the Department of Civil Engineering at Loughborough University. He joined the University in 1993, following a career in engineering and project management. He is Project Director of the European Construction Institute’s Safety, Health and Environment task force (ECI). Internationally he is coordinator of the Conseil Internationale de Batiment (CIB) working commission on construction health & safety. His research expertise is in construction health & safety and innovation and was lead researcher for the SPARC project on ageing construction workers. Presently he is involved with the New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) programme on the ‘Working Late’ project at Loughborough University.

Prof. Roger Haslam

Professor of Ergonomics, Loughborough Design School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

Roger Haslam PhD FIEHF CMIOSH, is a Professor of Ergonomics in Loughborough Design School at Loughborough University. He is Coordinating Editor of the journal Ergonomics and past President of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors. Roger’s research is concerned with the ‘fit’ between people and the products, equipment, systems and environments with which they interact. This has included attention to the design, safety and usability of the built environment; design, safety and health in construction; design of equipment and workplaces; and falls as a multi-faceted problem. Current research includes the New Dynamics of Ageing project ‘Working Late’ examining workplace design and older workers.