The future of safety

How will the COVID-19 pandemic change the field of occupational safety and health?

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Stegall

Diana Stegall

President
American Society of Safety Professionals


COVID-19 will change occupational safety and health in a variety of ways. When politicians, advertisers, journalists and public health officials are talking about safety on a daily basis, how can it not change? Organizations will be more focused on safety and health and remain more aware of the need to prepare for emergencies – not just weather-related incidents.

Companies will better recognize the need to provide a safe work environment – not just for their employees, but for visitors and customers. Everyone will be more aware of personal protective equipment and physical barriers as protections. While individuals will be more accepting of the use of PPE, we can’t allow it to become the “go-to” control for workplace hazards.

During the pandemic, organizations have had to conduct risk assessments versus relying on regulatory guidance, and that has resulted in cross-department collaboration. This teamwork will lead to better decision-making moving forward in our new normal. It also provides safety professionals with the opportunity to show how they understand the overall business risks to help their organization be more efficient and productive.

How we train individuals and conduct meetings has also changed. COVID-19 has caused us to be more purposeful and not rely on how we have done things in the past.

 

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