Where is Safety Going?
Trends and the future of work
The nature of industry and work in Australia is changing; we are moving away from manufacturing and mining, and there is an increase in service sectors and health care. This also means:
a) More use of casuals, labor hire and flexible working.
b) Sometimes there are multiple employers with shared safety responsibility.
c) Less physical injuries and more psychological injuries.
d) Increased age of workers – with people retiring later, and when they do a move to semi-retirement first.
The is also an increase in machine automation and the use of technology, which requires unique skills to assess risk.
Mental health is a growing concern. The increased media focus (and thus a community interest as well) means businesses must be proactive and not just reactive to mental health in the workplace.
Addressing Mental Health
We need to adjust the way we think about an injury, risks and communication. Employers must keep informed of injury trends relevant to their workplace and nature of business and work towards building a positive culture. A culture where caring for each other and improving personal wellness and resilience are core to the business.
Safety Action’s Tips to Adapt to the Changing Workforce
- Communicate information in the worker’s preferred style e.g. depending on age, background, education etc. Remember, even online presentations need to be interactive and engaging, not just accurate. Contact us for facts sheets on young workers and older workers.
- Consider how your workforce is changing. Have a look at what your workforce and nature of work now and 5 years ago. Do you have less full-time staff? Is your workforce aging or do you have a fast turned around? Your safety program needs to consider the impact of these changes on your safety culture.
- Build and grow a positive culture and improve staff wellness.
Based on Katie Weber’s summary of the annual SIA - Herbert Smith Freehills OHS Breakfast in February this year.