Current Trends in Occupational Safety and Health in 2023
As we near the third anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 to be a pandemic, organizations are continuing to adjust their approaches to workplace safety.
If you work in the field of occupational safety and health, it's important to monitor the trends that are changing the industry. In this article, we provide a breakdown of four emerging trends in safety to follow in 2023.
1. CDC and OSHA Guidance
While employers react to the pandemic and its multiple variants in their own ways, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has relied heavily on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while developing guidance for employers. Some organizations have followed this guidance more closely than others. Those choosing to be less proactive in minimizing risks – especially in geographic areas with high COVID-19 community transmission – may face consequences.
In an article published by the Society for Human Resource Management, the author noted that failures by employers to comply with CDC guidance about isolation and quarantines may violate OSHA’s general duty clause. Additionally, employees may file personal injury claims when contracting COVID-19 from coworkers who should have been home based on CDC guidance. These kinds of situations can result in financial loss and potentially reputational loss as well.
2. Mental Health Support
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight the importance of mental health in overall employee wellbeing. Increased stress and isolation are taking a major toll on people throughout the world, leading to greater mental health interest from government agencies and employers. Aside from pandemic stress, other mental health risks include toxic work cultures and harassment.
In recent years, there has been increased pressure on employers to support their employees' mental health. Organizations have responded by using various strategies, some of which include company-sponsored counseling services, increased social interaction for remote employees, and more comprehensive trainings to reduce workplace harassment.
3. Remote Injury Prevention
Although remote work provides a range of benefits for both businesses and employees, it can still pose risks to employee health and safety. One of the most common risks is musculoskeletal disorder. This condition – which can include joint pain, stiffness, and muscle degeneration – can be caused by poor ergonomics and is becoming more prevalent as remote work increases.
Many companies are taking steps to address this issue. Some workers may not be aware of the dangers that poor ergonomics can cause, and increased awareness can help them improve their workplaces. Some organizations also invest in workplace supplies like chairs, standing desks, and keyboard supports to help their remote employees maintain good posture.
4. Software and AI
Technology continues to change nearly every aspect of our lives, particularly in the workplace. Companies now rely on a range of software applications to manage their day-to-day operations. These programs have also had a significant impact on how organizations approach workplace health and safety.
For example, advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping safety professionals go beyond tracking incidents after they happen. The use of predictive analytics can reduce incidents and operational overhead, which can then directly impact the bottom line.
Occupational Safety and Health Education
For safety professionals, staying up-to-date about health and safety issues in the workplace is just one of the many ways to help you get the job you want. Education is another important factor.
Here at Columbia Southern University, we offer safety degree programs at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Our courses are taught by industry experts, and our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are touted by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals as Graduate Safety Practitioner® Qualified Academic Programs.
To learn more about CSU and our online safety degree programs, visit our website.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography and degree field, affect career outcomes. CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.