Assistant Editor, SHP & IFSEC Insider

December 8, 2023

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2024 and beyond: SHP’s Editorial Board reflect and predict

As the year comes to a close, we caught up with members of our Editorial Board for their thoughts on the year so far and what’s in store for 2024. We hear from Cindy Bell, James Pomeroy, Karl Simons and Rachel Butler.

What’s been your biggest highlight in 2023?

Cindy Bell

Cindy Bell

Cindy: My biggest highlight in 2023 was when I joined ABB in the spring time. ABB technologies are at the heart of many technology and sustainability advancements – I am proud to be part of a company that helps making a better future for the many generations to come.

James: 2023 will be the warmest year on record and climate-related events such as flooding and wildfires have reminded us that we will experience the climate crisis as a health and safety event, through increased heat, disruption to critical services and extreme weather events. We need to prepare our organisations to respond to such events.

On the positive side, 2023 saw ChatGPT go mainstream and we have had glimpse of the power of AI. Everyone in OHS should be thinking about what data and digital technologies could bring to their programmes.

Karl Simons OBE

Karl: In my role as Chief Futurist, I have loved seeing the rise in socialising of Artificial Intelligence and its impact upon society and in turn, the workplace. It’s a fascinating area of technology and rapidly becoming an ever increasing topical discussion in the workplace.

Progressive organisations are embracing it and moving forward at pace, so it will be interesting to see how long those presently resisting and holding onto their archaic digital tick-box systems will take to realise they have to step out of their comfort zones to keep up!

I also loved seeing the entire Water Sector leadership come together in the Houses of Parliament hosted by the Minister for AI and Intellectual property and sponsored by FYLD, to share learning and discuss the present future challenges being faced by the Industry!

Rachel: Probably for me; continuing to support the industry through schemes such as IOSH (Branch chair), sponsorship of construction students at a local college and being involved with promoting mental health in the construction industry. It’s great to see some new interest coming through into the profession, after many years of campaigning. Personally I am delighted to end the year by welcoming a new baby in December!

 

What do you hope the health and safety industry will achieve in 2024?

James Pomeroy

James Pomeroy

Cindy: I hope that in 2024 wellbeing remains on the top of the agenda. It has been on our top priorities since the pandemic, we need the same level of commitment for the years to come.

James: I hope we achieve more learning from organisations about the success of their OHS programmes. There’s some great practices occurring, but it’s often siloed within organisations.

Secondly, I hope we continue to progress the linkage between worker health and wellbeing, and safety. I’m particularly keen for a greater focus on occupational health and fatigue, which we need to do a better job in managing.

And finally, I’m keen to see more organisations trialling new technologies to existing safety challenges. New technologies have the potential to transform how work is conducted, eliminating hazards and reducing exposures, but we’re quite risk averse with adopting new technology in OHS.

Karl: For the profession I fear it going to be another very challenging year as the ‘PermaCrisis’ we find ourselves in continues to really impact the psychological state of our society across the UK and in turn the workplace also.

Rachel Butler

For so many the economic crisis leading to rising energy bills, overall cost of living increases, war in Ukraine and now Gaza, Climate uncertainty through global warming, and so on… Has led to many I have spoken to in the H&S profession having had to deal with and quickly learn and adapt their role towards supporting line managers faced with dealing first hand with employees suffering the effects of this crisis.

Rachel: I hope we continue to see new faces in the sector as Health and Safety becomes more appealing for those wishing to start a career.

It is important that our sector continues to work collaboratively amongst others, particularly security for example – as the cost of living crisis is continuing to have an impact that affects many in different ways (taken from trends seen on SHP – security incidents are on the rise, particularly in the retail sector).

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