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Adapting the workplace to a multigenerational team

More and more people in their 60s and 70s are putting off retirement, leading to a multigenerational work environment in many areas. Companies in New Jersey, especially those in construction and other fields involving physical labor, now face the challenge of providing safety training that speaks to people of all age ranges.

Before an employer can set up adequate safety training, it's important to get older employees comfortable with their younger counterparts. Bringing both together for team activities can foster more effective communication. Additionally, introducing new technology to the older workers who may not be at ease with it could lead to them embracing it once it becomes familiar. Safety training must take into account different learning methods. Older employees may be more comfortable with lectures and long videos, while younger employees may desire shorter, more hands-on, interactive training that has immediate practical value. Employers are encouraged to mix up their methods and never to assume that older workers are not interested in training for new tasks.

Employers are also encouraged to check in regularly on their older employees. If there's a task that the employee is no longer physically capable of completing, the employer could be flexible and assign a different one. However, the larger the workforce, the less opportunities there are for personal interaction between employee and employer.

If someone is injured on the job because of inadequate safety training, he or she could file a workers' compensation claim or a civil lawsuit. Though a lawsuit can potentially bring in a larger settlement, a lawyer would only recommend it if there is evidence of gross negligence. To provide no safety training whatsoever would be an example of gross negligence. In contrast, workers' compensation benefits could be payable regardless of whose fault the accident was.

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