Health and Safety is an increasingly important aspect of our lives, especially in the current era of pandemics and global uncertainty.
In June 2022, the International Labour Organization adopted a safe and healthy work environment as a fundamental principle and right. This means that health and safety directors across the world have an even greater responsibility to ensure that their workplaces are safe and healthy environments for their employees.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the importance of health and safety in the workplace. With an increased awareness of the value of occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals, it is crucial that we use our hard-won credibility to support and influence all those who can help create a safer and healthier world of work.
Despite the best efforts of OSH professionals, the reality is that the number of work-related injuries and illnesses is still on the rise.
‘OSH professionals must be proactive’
According to a report from the UK Health and Safety Executive, there has been an increase in the number of work-related injuries and illnesses in recent years. Similarly, new research has found that one in four employees in the UK has experienced suicidal thoughts while at work, highlighting the need for a more empathetic and values-driven approach to leadership.
In order to address these issues, OSH professionals must be proactive in incorporating the lessons learned from the pandemic into crisis and continuity plans. With the events in Ukraine and the rise in the cost of living, it is essential that these plans are robust and effective in mitigating any potential disruptions.
One area of particular concern is the mental health of employees. The World Health Organization has issued guidelines on mental health at work that provide evidence-based recommendations to promote mental health and prevent mental health conditions.
IOSH’s Catch the Wave initiative will have an even greater impact in providing the right environment, values, and culture to develop and retain people as the foundation of productivity and profitability.
Despite the advancements in technology, from autonomous manufacturing to state-of-the-art safety systems, we still see fatalities that could have been easily prevented. This is partly due to a lack of investment in safer technology and a focus on employee competency instead. However, the industry is slowly beginning to adopt the “lean manufacturing” methodology, which focuses on minimizing waste while maximizing productivity, to further improve the safety of their employees.
Jordyn Aitken Asia-Pacific health, safety, and environment manager at Alltech, believes that the issues facing the safety profession will persist even after the pandemic has ended. Business continuity will remain a focus, with industry investing and preparing for future pandemics. Additionally, there will be a continued focus on mental health, with the World Health Organization and International Labour Organization calling for action to address declining mental health in the working population.
Enter the EHS Congress, the event that’s here to make your job a little easier.
This year’s event is dedicated to providing Health and Safety Directors with the latest tools, techniques, and best practices to create a safer and more productive work environment for employees. The conference, taking place on May 24-25 in beautiful Berlin, will feature world-class speakers, interactive breakout workshops, and smart-app powered 1-on-1 meetings.
As we gather in Berlin for the EHS Congress, let us use this opportunity to share ideas and best practices to further our common goal of creating a safer and healthier world of work. Join us and be a part of creating a brighter future.
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