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The Effect of Global Megatrends on Occupational Health and Safety

[fa icon="calendar"] 4/23/16 9:00 AM / by Deonie Botha

Deonie Botha

Earlier this week, NOSA Head of Innovation, Dr Deonie Botha attended the IOE GOSH meeting in Belgium, and presented on global megatrends and their impact on occupational health and safety. Below we summarise the key points of her discussion, including the trends in OSH, its challenges and the blueprint of the future ‘organisation’.


Megatrends and OHS

The global macro-economic environment is characterised by megatrends, and these will have an impact on both occupational health and safety, and the nature and characteristics of future organisations. They will also affect the nature of ‘occupations’ (what we do and how we do it), and this is where OSH requirements will change, as well as training and organisational culture.

Companies and OHS service providers need to understand megatrends to understand the resultant OHS trends.

 The 12 megatrends that can also directly impact OHS in the workplace, including urbanisation and innovating to zero, were also discussed.


 Now Trending: Health and Safety


How megatrends will affect the future organisation

These days, it is not unusual to see a single employee, working alone, anytime, anywhere and on a range of devices. This ties in with the rise of individualism in the workplace – i.e. employees want to be there, and not feel obliged to be there. New behaviours are entering the workforce, creating opportunities for ideas and innovation to come from anywhere. This means that future organisations could even be run from the Cloud. It will also lead to more women increasingly becoming the decision makers and primary consumers, with communication able to flow from all avenues (up, down and side to side).


The values of both the employees and the organisation need to align, and need to be shared through telling the stories of the organisation. This means the use of collaborative technologies in order to learn from colleagues anywhere and anytime.


Companies also need to adapt to meet the needs of employees and managers, by becoming attuned to the things they will work for, such as health and wellness, community involvement, sustainability and making a positive impact on the world.


8 emerging trends in OSH

The following current trends were identified as spin offs of megatrends, specific to OSH:

  1. Pervasive technologies and increased levels of mechanisation and automation
  2. Rise of big data and the internet of things (tactile internet)
  3. Predictive analytics to prescriptive analytics
  4. Health, safety and environment interrelating with productivity
  5. Increased importance of occupational and psychosocial wellness
  6. Experiential workplaces and training becoming increasingly virtual and visual
  7. Wearables as a new form of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  8. Auditing moving beyond commonalities to extremities


These should be considered together with already widely-recognised trends in OSH…


13 current OSH trends

  1. Population ageing
  2. Migration
  3. Stress at work
  4. Workplace violence and harassment
  5. Health of women at work
  6. New technologies in green jobs
  7. Privatisation of health and safety provision
  8. Women exiting the workplace mid-career
  9. Climate change
  10. Migration of refugees into Europe
  11. Sustainable energy
  12. Nano materials
  13. Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of Classification


In our next blog post we explore closely the 12 Megatrends that could directly impact OHS training in the workplace. Click below to read more.

Read More


Topics: HSE trends

Deonie Botha

Deonie Botha

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

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