5 New Trends for Workplace Health and Safety

Watch Out Trends to Ensure Employee’s Well Being

Mitigating safety hazards at the workplace has always been a primary concern for many organizations. Although the issue might seem like an ever-existing, traditional one for some companies, progressive ones know that the benefits of having a good Health and Safety policy is numerous and extensive. To name some of the business benefits: safeguarding the organization from the loss of time & resources, litigation, fines and human capital. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg. The real benefit of having a good Health and Safety policy with effective implementation and continuous improvements, can be observed on the single most important company asset: peopleHuman well-being is the top priority for every organization and that is why many organisations aim for a “0-occupational hazard” goal. Thus, caring about employees’ health & safety brings long term benefits such as a stronger employer brand value and company brand reputation.

Check below the latest trends to keep in mind on Health and Safety in order to improve your approach:

1. Increased Focus on Work-related Stress

Stress has become a part of daily life for today’s average employee whether caused by increased workplace responsibilities, economic burdens or changing organizational environments. In Europe and the US, the number of citizens living paycheck to paycheck or on student loans are increasing. OECD annual research data suggests, the percentage of workers working 60 hours or more per week has reached 5.1% among the OECD countries while Italy being 3.9%. Authorities continue to emphasize that work-related stress levels are expected to rise as economies grow and undergo various changes. Hence, companies should take relevant actions and programs to decrease the stress levels to maintain employee productivity, happiness and job satisfaction as part of their legal duty.

2. Improved Safety Technology

Safety technology has come a long way and now reached to a more dexterous state. Digital smart signage that are alerting employees better, higher quality materials and devices for protection, surveillance enhanced with Artificial intelligence (AI) and most importantly Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled technologies such as smartwatches, wearables and Gensuite applications. These allow employers to track worker movements and receive continuous feedback and data from employees about the changing conditions at the workplace. Employees can also report incidents, conduct audits and connect with other employees to work in synchronization. Health and Safety software and mobile-centric solutions linked with these tech can proactively address risks and plan preventive measures, thus improving employee safety experience and its management extensively and in many diverse ways.

3. Use of Big Data & Analytics to find the root cause

With the use of new tech, it is possible to collect large amounts of relevant Health and Safety data. This can be utilised by linking it to safety reports to find out the likelihood of safety incidents and the magnitude of relative risks. That way it will be more probable to prevent them based on a more complete look at all the factors on the workplace and to understand which are the root causes of occupational hazards. This can be followed with building better training programs that will eventually decrease injury rates in the company.

4. Changing nature of the workforce and feedback

As baby boomers continue to retire, millennials and later generations enter the workforce, eventually evolving organizations’ demographics. This will create lasting implications for the new workplaces as millennials have radically different expectations from work and the concept of an ideal workplace. They will continue to push boundaries and organizations will need to redesign jobs, their organizational culture or how they treat and manage their employees in general. Employee voice should definitely be heard in this process as expected by the new workforce. As a matter of fact, many organizations utilized some sort of tool to collect real-time employee feedback comprising of quantitative or periodic pulse surveys to continuously engage their employees.  

5. Top management commitment and culture

More top management commitment will be seen in the coming years. Upper-level executives become more active and involved in promoting occupational health and safety within their organization by becoming a part of the safety committees, holding themselves to the same safety standards as their employees, allocating larger budgets and ensuring regulations are enforced. This also requires a new organizational culture in which safety is deeply embedded in the DNA. Workplace safety cannot exist by policies and regulations alone, rather every employee should be intrinsically motivated to achieve this goal for themselves and others alike.

Establishing a better safety culture and improving safety policies has been given the priority in progressive organizations by the human resources, health and safety executives and leaders of the organization. The results will definitely mean safer, more profitable organizations and happier employees.

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