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The Evolution of EHS: Trends Shaping the Future of Workplace Safety

  • Publish Date: Posted 7 months ago

Shirley Parsons looks at the main trends that are shaping the future of workplace safety and what EHS professionals need to be aware of to ensure they stay ahead.

Safety is a fundamental pillar within every organization and is key to ensuring employees are always protected from harm. As Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) has evolved significantly over the years, the spotlight has intensified on workplace safety and is driven by various factors that continue to shape and influence its future.

Development of technology.

One of the most significant shifts in EHS is the integration of technology into safety management. Innovations like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, wearable technology, and real-time monitoring systems have empowered organizations to collect and analyze data to proactively identify safety risks.

An example of this is wearable sensors. Wearable sensors can track an employee’s heart rate, body temperature and exposure to harmful substances, all of which provide valuable insights to prevent accidents or illnesses.

Predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are also being used to forecast workplace safety risks before they occur. By analyzing historical data and identifying patterns, AI-driven systems can predict equipment failures and potential hazards to help companies implement preventive measures and, enable EHS professionals make informed decisions.

The use of digital tools and platforms are becoming central to EHS management. Companies are adopting EHS software solutions for incident reporting, compliance tracking, and safety training, all of which help streamline processes and improve overall safety performance.

 

The importance of sustainability and ESG.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)criteria have gained prominence in the corporate world and the concept of workplace safety continues to expand to include environmental safety.

More and more companies are realizing the importance of sustainable practices and are taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint. This includes safe disposal of hazardous materials, reducing emissions, adopting eco-friendly technologies, and promoting sustainable practices in their operations.

The integration of EHS and sustainability strategies is becoming a standard practice, as it not only safeguards employees but also contributes to a company's long-term viability.

 

Ergonomics and wellbeing.

Workplace safety goes beyond avoiding accidents and employee wellbeing has become an essential component. Companies are increasingly focusing on ergonomic design to reduce physical strain and prevent long-term health issues. Ergonomically designed workstations, adjustable furniture, and wellness programs are becoming standard in modern workplaces.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a trend towards remote working which has had a lasting impact on EHS practices. EHS professionals are now tasked with ensuring the safety of remote and flexible workers who may not be physically present in a traditional office or workplace setting.

The development of new safety protocols, training programs and digital tools mean there is more of a focus on mental health and wellbeing initiatives, to support employees dealing with these challenges.

 

Diversity and social responsibility.

A diverse workforce necessitates a more inclusive approach to EHS and therefore tailoring safety programs to address the unique needs of all employees, regardless of background or abilities, is a growing trend in EHS.

An inclusive EHS culture can lead to improved safety outcomes, enhanced innovation, and a stronger reputation. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, organizations can create a safer and more sustainable future for their employees and the environment.

Companies are also starting to embrace a broader sense of social responsibility, including ethical business practices, human rights, and community involvement. EHS plays a vital role in upholding these values and ensuring ethical conduct within an organisation.

Employee engagement and training.

EHS programs are increasingly focusing on employee engagement and empowerment. Organizations acknowledge that a well-informed and motivated workforce is a key driver of safety excellence. EHS professionals are working to create a culture of safety where employees take an active role in identifying and reporting hazards.

Furthermore, innovative training methods, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), are being used to enhance safety training and make it more immersive and effective. This trend reflects a shift from passive compliance to active participation in safety initiatives.

 

Global leaders in EHS and sustainability.

Here at Shirley Parsons,we are committed to positively impacting the industry by providing expert advice and facilitating opportunities for professionals to enhance their skills and advance their careers.

As Environment, Health and Safety continues to evolve as a result of technology, sustainability initiatives, remote working and diversity, EHS professionals will play a pivotal role in guiding organizations through these transformations and ensure safety remains a top priority in an ever-changing world.

To find out more about our consultancy and careers services, or if you’re a HSEQ & Sustainability professional seeking support and guidance, get in touch with our team by filling out your details below.