EHS Management

Health and Safety in the Workplace—Trends to Watch in 2018

According to The National Safety Council, work-related injuries and deaths cost society about $142.5 million every year. And while the total number of reported workplace injuries and deaths may be down in recent years, there are still many important things to take note of in the realm of workplace health and safety in 2018.
Safety conversation
Here’s what’s new for workplace health and safety in 2018.

OSHA Recordkeeping Updates

In May 2016, OSHA announced an impending workplace injury reporting rule where many businesses operating in high-risk industries or employing 250 or more workers were required to submit injury-related and illness-related data electronically for public record. The rule officially took effect in January 2017, with the first submissions required by December 31, 2017. Organizations were required to submit OSHA Form 300A data covering calendar year 2016 by that date via OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application. In 2018, applicable organizations are required to submit Form 300A data for calendar year 2017 via OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application by July 1, 2018.

Focus on Mental Health Initiatives May Increase 

Untreated mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety cost organizations $100 billion per year. In the coming years, expect to see employers offering more mental health initiatives that help treat and prevent common mental health ailments and diseases. You can also expect to see more programs that aid workers with drug addiction, especially alcoholism. Workers with alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely to have work-related injury absences.

More Workplace Safety Occupations

Expect to see an increase in roles with titles like:

  • Safety director
  • Safety manager
  • Safety coordinator

Individuals in these occupations will be hired to oversee safety policies and practices across organizations and ensure compliance, especially in industries like construction.

Virtual Reality Training Will Be More Common

Many industries will begin to rely on virtual reality training environments for safety training as virtual reality equipment becomes much more affordable and easy to use. Construction workers will learn how to do things like safely walk around a scaffold 20 stories in the air before their first day of work. And delivery drivers will be able to navigate dangerous road conditions before getting inside and operating a company vehicle. And so on.

Decreasing Stress Will Become Imperative

Research shows that stress on the job directly impacts workplace safety. Many injuries on the job occur because workers aren’t encouraged to take enough breaks or time off. Or, they have a very heavy workload that isn’t regulated well by management. Extreme fatigue and headaches caused by workplace stress, for instance, contribute to workplace injuries and even some deaths. So, soon you can expect to see better policies in place that help workers across industries better cope with stress.

As you’re navigating your own workplace health and safety initiatives in 2018, be sure to keep the things listed above in mind.

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