Workplace safety has taken on a new meaning since the spring of 2020. Not only do workers continue to face the previously “normal” hazards in their workplaces, but they also need to now be aware of the ongoing safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For occupational safety and health professionals, following emerging trends in the industry and applying new strategies is an ongoing concern. In this article, we provide a breakdown of four workplace safety trends to follow in 2022.
1. Employee Wellbeing and Mental Health
Heading into 2022, employers are continuing to focus more on supporting employee wellbeing and mental health. Stress is a workplace safety issue, and COVID-19 has highlighted the many ways that a pandemic can affect employee mental health.
The good news is that employers are proactively working to mitigate issues negatively impacting their employees' health and wellness, both related to the pandemic and beyond.
2. Worldwide Sharing of Knowledge and Learning
Occupational safety and health professionals are aiming to help one another across the world to enhance their efforts to safeguard workers. To do this, sharing ideas, knowledge, expertise and solutions with the greater body of professionals in the industry can benefit us all.
For example, organizations like the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health have members from more than 100 countries across the globe. As collaboration increases, new models for workplace safety can emerge, improving outcomes for all of us.
3. OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard
Safety professionals – especially those working for private employers – will be closely following developments related to OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 vaccination and testing. The ETS requires private employers with at least 100 employees to adopt policies that mandate their workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing.
While numerous groups across the country are mounting legal challenges against the ETS, safety professionals working for private companies are likely to be directly involved in how their organizations react to the ETS and decisions regarding updates to policies and procedures.
4. Worker Redundancy and Resiliency
Staffing for redundancy is another important workplace trend for 2022, and employee safety and health is a big reason why. Traditionally, employers used minimal staffing to lower their costs and increase efficiency, but the pandemic has changed this mindset for many.
Building redundancy and resiliency into teams can help ensure continuous coverage during emergencies while also reducing employee stress levels. This isn’t the case for every organization – some businesses consider redundant staffing to be a luxury they can’t afford – but many others are prioritizing employee health higher than they did before the pandemic.
Occupational Safety and Health Education
In addition to following industry trends, another key to success in the safety industry is meeting the education requirements. For advanced positions in occupational safety and health, employers typically expect candidates to have a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, along with relevant safety certifications.
Here at Columbia Southern University, our online safety degree programs are led by industry experts who share what they know, what they’ve learned, and what they want to achieve with their students. To learn more about our online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, visit our website.