- Working environments and employment patterns are continually changing with the rise in remote and flexible work.
- Health and safety in the workplace is an evolving practice that is impacted by the technology and equipment that we use at work.
- From display screen equipment to electrical safety, this guide offers advice on how to keep up with the latest health and safety developments.
This article was written by recruitment marketing specialist Tom McLoughlin, director of Growth Recruits.
Maintaining high workplace health and safety standards is an essential part of managing risks and keeping employees safe. Whilst statistics do show that the rate of injuries in the workplace is gradually falling, there were still over 100 recorded fatalities at work between 2019 and 2020 according to government data (source).
Working environments and employment patterns are continuing to change as trends such as freelance work or digital nomadism become more prevalent across a range of industries. These changes mean that workplace health and safety risks are changing as well, and it is important to stay on top of the latest guidance to prevent harm and keep both your business and your staff safe.
The future of workplace health and safety is a developing concept, but certain emerging trends are likely to be the focus of guidance and research in the coming years. Here are some of our thoughts on the future of health and safety in the workplace and how best to keep up with the latest developments.
Increased awareness of mental health issues has brought about many positive changes on both personal and corporate levels. Studies show that almost 15% of people experience mental health problems in the workplace, meaning it is important for companies to have systems in place that support their employees through difficult periods and prevent any conditions worsening because of the working environment (source).
Implementing better mental health support services in the workplace has been shown to save businesses up to £8 billion every year, as well as leading to a healthier and more productive workforce (source). By checking in on your employees’ mental wellbeing and providing access to counselling or other intervention, you’ll prevent future absences or presenteeism.
As working remotely or at home becomes more popular, workplace health and safety policies need to consider the risk that lone working poses to mental health and ensure that all employees have regular wellbeing meetings and access to resources that provide support and advice.
Work and Home Equipment
As previously mentioned, there is starting to be a real shift towards many workforces operating remotely most of the time, which comes with a surprising array of health and safety risks.
One of these is ensuring that employees who are working outside of the workplace have the appropriate equipment and a setup that minimizes the risk of musculoskeletal injury or any other accidents. There is also a range of risks posed by messy home environments which are not held to the same standards as a workplace and therefore could cause injures such as trips, slips, or falls.
The proper use of display screen equipment (DSE) is a big part of work and home equipment safety meaning that companies who have a remote workforce must provide appropriate health and safety training or resources to support staff who spend a lot of their time working from a screen. There should also be policies that ensure staff are always provided with functional equipment that does not pose a health hazard, along with resources to help staff carry out their own risk assessments when working from home.
Workplace Electrical Safety
It’s impossible to escape the fact that more and more of our lives are becoming digitized, and the workplace is no exception to this rule. Whilst there are many benefits to automating systems and streamlining processes with the use of electronic equipment, the increase in the use of these devices also leads to an increase in accidents involving them such as electrical fires or electric shocks.
As complex electrical devices become common in most workplaces, specialist electronic engineers will be required for the complex electronics jobs and general installation and maintenance of the embedded equipment, along with appropriate training for anyone who uses them. Employees who are working remotely in the long term are also likely to require training that allows them to monitor the functionality and safety of the equipment they have at home so they can identify any potential risks before they become hazards.
Basic First Aid Training
Whilst a lot of predictions about the future of workplace health and safety are based on new developments, it is important to remember that basic first aid training is still absolutely vital no matter what industry you are in. All workplaces require a trained first aider on-site at all times in the case of an emergency and failing to provide the appropriate health and safety training to ensure this could have severe consequences.
It is incredibly easy to source basic first aid training, whether the course is carried out in person or online. Despite a variety of predicted changes in how we use and visit the workplace, risks such as choking, bleeding or unconsciousness are still possible and mean that first aid training is unlikely to lose its importance in the future.
Keeping up to date with the latest developments in workplace health and safety should be easy for businesses that already have comprehensive procedures and policies in place to protect themselves and their employees. By keeping your risk assessments updated and following the latest industry guidance, you’ll be able to adapt policies and keep your workforce educated on the best ways to remove risk and avoid hazards at work.
The necessary resources required to keep staff safe and healthy in the workplace are now predominantly available online, making it easier than ever to deliver health and safety training to your entire workforce. E-learning is the perfect solution to protecting employees either working remotely or on your company’s premises, providing accessible guidance on a wide range of safety issues.
Recruitment marketing specialist Tom McLoughlin, director of Growth Recruits, has vast experience from his many years in the digital marketing sector, successfully running his own small digital marketing business. Tom has an in-depth knowledge of the recruitment sector and the marketing that is required to succeed.