Welcome to the SAMTRAC Blog

12 Megatrends That Could Directly Impact OHS Training in the Workplace

[fa icon="calendar"] 4/27/16 9:00 AM / by Deonie Botha

Deonie Botha


12 megatrends affecting OHS

Our previous blog postreviewed NOSA Head of Innovation, Dr Deonie Botha’s research into the effect of global megatrends on occupational health and safety. Today we drill a little deeper, and take a look at how 12 specific megatrends could have a direct impact on how you train your staff on health and safety in the workplace.



  1. Urbanisation

As the world's population becomes increasingly urbanised the proportion of people living in poverty in cities increases. With over half of the world’s population predicted to be living in urban areas by 2020, there is a pressing need to address how cities deal with service provision and city planning for healthy lifestyles. Rapid and unplanned urbanisation occurring in Africa and South Asia has significant consequences for health arising from a variety of causes, including poor housing, air pollution, poor water and sanitation, and exposure to industrial waste. Furthermore, this will then affect how companies handle workplace safety training, specifically when it comes to food safety.


  1. E-mobility

E-mobility technology offers the potential for increased mobility and accessibility, while reducing pollution and its effects, as well as bringing down the attendant costs of operating regular machinery. This also means the training attached to the operation of conventional machinery will change (and possibly diminish) as certain risks are removed.


  1. Social trends (e.g. geo-socialisation, Generation Y, reverse brain drain)

Reverse brain drain occurs when human capital moves from a more developed country to a less developed country that is developing rapidly. With them comes a wealth of knowledge and skills developed overseas that will inevitably enhance any training conducted in the workplace.


  1. Virtual world (e.g. fluid interfaces)

The virtual world will expand the platforms upon which training is conducted, by offering 3D simulated environments with greater interaction and experiences that will have an impact on an employee’s personal mobility.


  1. Innovating to zero (e.g. zero emission technologies, zero harm)

This could mean zero breaches of security, debt, defects, waste, emissions from cars and complete recyclability, which will all have a direct impact on how we choose to (and need to) train in the workplace, because ultimately all this will hopefully lead to zero accidents.


  1. Robotics and autonomous systems

Autonomous systems can result in better health and safety conditions, presumably because there is a smaller margin for human error. However, automated equipment can create new hazards, which will have an impact on how you decide to conduct your health and safety training.


  1. Health, wellness and wellbeing

In almost all countries across the globe, per capita healthcare spending is rising faster than per capita income. This means we will need to look at shifting our focus away from treating and towards predicting, diagnosing and monitoring in an effort to bring these costs down.


  1. Space jam (e.g. congested satellite orbs)

The commercial market will be driven by broadcast. By 2020 over 900 satellites will be launched globally, creating multiple innovative applications. This means developments in mobile satellite service (MSS), voice and data applications and bundling IPTV.


  1. World War III (e.g. cyber warfare)

With advancements in technology, information warfare is anticipated to be the next domain of conflict.


  1. RoboSlaves

These will be pervasive robotic technologies developed in the next five years that will function as ‘slaves’ or assistants in everyday life, e.g. robots used for welding, drilling, material handling, packaging and transportation. This will change the landscape of businesses and the accompanying training.


  1. Emerging transportation corridors

The integration of trans-border rail systems will result in greater industrial and business hubs. This will diminish the need for air travel, take congestion off the highways (people will drive smaller distances) and encourage car sharing. This will have a subsequent effect on how people choose to work, which will also change the make-up of company training.  


  1. Complexity science and swarm theory

How do the simple actions of individuals add up to the complex behaviour of a group? Here, the theory is all about providing us with insights that can help manage complex systems, from truck routing to military robots. The key to colony thinking is that no one is in charge – no managers or boss ant workers. Instead, functioning relies instead upon countless interactions between individual ants, each of which is following simple rules of thumb. Scientists describe such a system as self-organising.



Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

World Vision



Topics: Global Megatrends

Deonie Botha

Deonie Botha

Deonie is responsible for Innovation as well as Research and Development at SAMTRAC.

subscribe to our blog
Download the SAMTRAC Mining glossary

Lists by Topic

see all