Looking forward to the future of health and safety

World Day for Safety and Health at work on 28th April looks ahead to the emerging challenges facing those responsible for maintaining healthy and safe workplaces.

The event is led by the International Labour Organisation, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. This year, its report shares the story of 100 years in saving lives and promoting safe and healthy working environments and looks forward to how it will meet new challenges.

They report identifies four specific emerging challenges to safety and health in the workplace:

1. Technology

The opportunities of technology to offer support while bringing with it new stresses caused by increased abilities to monitor workers.

2. Demographics

The challenges of dealing with an ageing workforce and with different in the workplace, as well as emerging issues of home-based working and sedentary and repetitive work.

3. Sustainable development

The impact of climate change, pollution and risks posed by emerging industries such as recycling.

4. Changes in work organisation

The blurring of the lines between home and work and issues of work-life balance brought about by technology and the increase in “gig economy” working.

The ILO's proposed solutions include anticipating change, taking a multidisciplinary approach and a greater role for education and lifelong learning.

Consider both health and safety

It goes without saying that employers have a duty to ensure their workers' safety, but with the relative decline of heavy and dangerous industry and the success of building a safety culture in the most hazardous workplaces, the focus is increasingly moving to workplace health, where the impacts may be longer-term but no less important.  Here, issues such as musculoskeletal disorders, stress and exposure to dust are increasingly the focus of attention by enforcement bodies.

So, what should employers consider when looking at safety and health in their workplaces? 

Mentor Senior Consultant Stephen Campbell considers employers' safety obligations:


Senior Consultant Peter Nicholls advises how employers can benefit from a healthy working environment.


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