Innovative, age-appropriate work design in the steel industry

On the past 3rd and 4th of June the kick-off meeting of the OptimaSteel project took place. The project is funded by the Research Fund for Coal and Steel. INOVA+, JOANNEUM RESEARCH, EWF and PSA are the project partners.

Kick-Off Meeting. Crédit: EWF

The objectives of the project are to identify, assess, demonstrate and disseminate state of the art technologies and methods to foster wellbeing and health, to improve the quality of life in the working environment. Motivated and healthy workers stay active and productive for longer, answering the needs of an ageing population. OptimaSteel addresses the ergonomics problems caused by human machine interaction in a steel industry with an ageing workforce, and its impact in working conditions, health and safety and quality of life in the workplace. Successful ageing at work, support and older employee retainment are critical challenges for organizations. Such issues are particularly actual in the steel industry. Employees who are exposed to physical risk factors – repetitive movements, and quantitatively high mental demands – work under pressure with tight deadlines, such as in the steel industry requiring urgent measures to improve their health and work-life balance. The median age of steel industry employees has always been higher than the all-manufacturing average, both in Europe and in the US. The present demographic profiles of an aged population require sustainable measures, such as developing new ways to enable older workers to remain in the workforce. The European Commission believes that successful ageing at work goes hand in hand with implementing good practices for wellbeing – physical and mental.

Project OptimaSteel will address these problems by identifying, assessing, demonstrating and disseminating towards the steel industry state of the art technologies and methods to improve the quality of life of older adults in their working environment. Current solutions for health, safety and wellbeing of steel workers do not rely on a single technology or on a new development. OptimaSteel partners aim to identify measures being adopted in Europe and under research that can ameliorate and implement workplace ergonomics, stress management, physical training and nutritional balance – a holistic approach will be considered to improve the quality of life of elder (55+) workers. The main goal of project OptimaSteel is therefore to build on state of the art solutions from top-end technology developers and research institutes across EU, to provide well-balanced and holistic systems that are able to meet the steel industry’s needs and offers benefits and an enhanced quality of life for older adults at the workplace. The project is coordinated by INOVA+ (Portugal). The further partners are JOANNEUM RESEARCH and its institute DIGITAL, the European Federation for Welding, joining and Cutting (Belgium) and Groupe PSA (Portugal).



AAL @ Institute DIGITAL