Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
April 29, 2024

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Higher demand but not able to meet it – survey finds health and safety provision lacking for staff

Staff have increasing expectations of employers to meet health and safety needs – but employers are not equipped enough to meet the needs, a survey has found.

The survey found 94% of respondents reported increased expectations from their stakeholders over the last three years – with 80% anticipating expectations will continue to rise – while only 2% believed H&S professionals are fully equipped to keep pace with the rapidly changing stakeholder needs.

The results have been found from a survey of 256 Health and Safety (H&S) Function Leaders from companies employing 11 million people globally by sustainability consultancy ERM.

Senior H&S leaders have “crucial role to play”

leadershipBrian Kraus, Safety Transformation Services Director at ERM and the lead for the 2024, 2021 and 2018 studies, said: “There is increasing complexity in protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of people at work arising from fundamental changes in the work, those engaging in the work and where the work is done.

“Substantive challenges identified in the earlier studies remain, despite broad-based commitment, increasing engagement from leaders and investment in H&S processes, programs, tools, technology and training. This is not a new conclusion, but for many the gap is widening.

“Our survey findings call for a pause for meaningful reflection on the way forward, not more of the same. Senior organisational leaders and the H&S profession have a crucial role to play in leading the change in a context where expectations for the health and safety of the workforce from every stakeholder group continue to ratchet up, year on year, with no peak in sight.”

The survey asked about issues such as psychosocial risk, the increased use of contractors and the application of artificial intelligence (AI).

It showed 63% of respondents anticipate increased use of contractors in the next three years, yet almost two thirds said that contractor H&S is harder to manage than H&S for their own employees.

Almost 90% of respondents said psychosocial risk factors and the mental health challenges that arise from them were a growing source of concern – and 84% of organisations had adopted measures to drive improvement in their management of psychosocial risk factors.

The top factors to increased mental health concerns were identified as a constant pressure to perform at work, a faster pace of work, increased workload and an ‘always-on’ environment.
The survey found companies are investing heavily in H&S in an effort to keep pace with the changes.

Investment in new technologies

Respondents increased their investments in H&S by 26% on average in the last three years and anticipate a further 20% increase in the next three years – while 88% of the survey respondents had deployed new technologies in the last three years.

Credit: Stephen Dawson/Unsplash

Six of the top 10 investments in H&S were directed at harnessing new technologies and artificial intelligence to improve H&S performance.

But 87% of respondents believe that leadership engagement is the most powerful way to drive improvement in H&S performance.

And while 81% reported higher levels of leadership engagement in the last three years – only 7% felt their leaders are spending sufficient time engaging on H&S.

Valery Kucherov, Global Service Leader for Safety & Risk at ERM, said: “The expectations of the Health and Safety profession have transformed in recent years from a technical, compliance-led function into a fast-changing, business-critical enabler of human performance and organizational culture change.

“The ever-increasing levels of investment in H&S show that businesses are striving to keep up with the rising expectations and pace of change.

“H&S Function Leaders are driven by a sense of purpose and thrive when they are delivering real impact, and with the right strategies in place we see a huge opportunity to build on progress to date to significantly dial up safety culture, leadership, and performance.”

You can read the full report here

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments