How Will Health and Safety Awareness Impact the Future of Work

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a high-risk or low-risk industry: health and safety awareness is crucial if you want to avoid unnecessary or uncontrolled dangers that can cost lives, money, and reputation.

That said, the whole world has had to adjust protocols due to the widespread and long-lasting effects of COVID-19. From the issuance of mask mandates to the shift towards remote working arrangements, the pandemic has quite literally changed every industry’s outlook when it comes to health and safety.

Indeed, even when restrictions have been lifted and day-to-day life has virtually returned to what can be considered a “pre-pandemic” status, it’s undeniable that the landscape has shifted. Here is a quick look at what the future of work health and safety looks like, and how it will impact policy-making and other related issues:

More H&S Training, Both Voluntary and Mandatory

Under HSWA 2015, it’s the responsibility of the employer to provide a healthy and safe working environment for their employees. This can be easily and clearly interpreted when it comes to the traditional setting—while everyone has their duties, it’s the businesses that have the primary responsibility to ensure health and safety.

The question, then, is this: what happens when he set-up shifts and most of the workforce are doing their jobs at home and the businesses no longer have jurisdiction?

This is one of the primary reasons why there will likely be higher interest in health and safety training, both voluntary (i.e., initiated by an individual) and mandatory. This can help ensure that wherever employees may be doing their jobs, they will be well-equipped to handle H&S incidents.

More importantly, H&S training ensures that there will be people within an organisation who are able to develop a health and safety plan that is responsive to the needs of every individual. Not everyone has the same working conditions at home, and an adaptable H&S plan is definitely an asset in plenty of situations.

Social Responsibility at the Forefront

One of the things that COVID-19 brought attention to is how public health is a social responsibility. Even if the government implements various mandates, it will mean little if only a small handful of citizens follow. From wearing masks properly to staying in isolation if you’re sick, this pandemic has emphasised that public health depends on everyone quite literally.

At the same time, businesses are also going to be held accountable more strictly than ever. Again, according to the law, it’s their responsibility to keep everyone—employees, visitors, and customers—safe. This is now more apparent than ever and the public is going to expect businesses to comply closely to such regulations.

Less Prescriptive, More Adaptive

Some years ago, workplace health and safety protocols all over the world were prescriptive. In case of this situation, do this action. In case of that circumstance, do that to adapt. However, this approach to workplace health and safety can be restrictive. Different workplaces have different needs; thus, arbitrary rules and regulations can be more prohibitive than helpful.

As time went by, however, the narrow focus slowly expanded and adapted to become more process-based and outcome-oriented. Those in authority recognised the complexity of health and safety concerns, as well as the global trends that affected emergency and disaster response.

Nowadays, thanks in part to information technology, people are more aware of health and safety concerns. More importantly, organisations have more opportunities to equip their workforce with the right health and safety knowledge. This gives room for flexibility, not to mention confidence in the policies and programmes being implemented.

A Focus on Prevention

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. In the case of COVID-19, of course, prevention of the disease outright was impossible. However, thanks to previous information, experts quickly found ways to help stop or at least slow down its spread. This bought time for vaccines to be developed.

In the future, prevention is definitely going to still be the highest priority when it comes to creating a safe and healthy working environment. This applies not only to diseases like COVID, but also other risks and hazards at work like trips, falls, spills, and other types of accidents.

A Constant Review of History

One of the biggest advantages that humanity had over COVID-19 is previous knowledge of similar coronaviruses. This gave scientists a running start, so to speak, in developing safety policies, formulating vaccines, and finding other viable modes of treatment.

This simply means that continuously reviewing history can improve health and safety at work. Incidents such as Chernobuly in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011 can help prevent or mitigate radiation-related incidents.

Indeed, you don’t even have to go far to study previous incidents. Just take a look at your own workplace’s incident history and you’ll be able to find plenty of helpful information.

 

Ultimately, health and safety largely depends on two factors: awareness and proaction. As long as people know what to do and how to do it, workplaces can readily adapt to whatever might happen.

CC Training Academy offers health and safety courses for the skilled workforce.