Building a safer tomorrow
Building a safer tomorrow
In June 2022, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a safe and healthy work environment as a fundamental principle and right. This means that health and safety directors across the world have an even greater responsibility to ensure that workplaces are safe and healthy environments for their employees.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly increased the importance of health and safety in the workplace,” says Aron Tozser, project director of the EHS Congress, which gathers senior health and safety executives in Berlin annually for a two-day powerhouse of unparalleled presentations on all things SHEQ-related.
“With an increased awareness of the value of occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals, it is crucial that we use our hard-won credibility to support and influence all those who can help create a safer and healthier world of work,” Tozser continues.
Despite the best efforts of OSH professionals, the reality is that work-related injuries and illnesses are still on the rise. According to a report from the UK Health and Safety Executive, there has been an increase in the number of work-related injuries and illnesses in recent years. Similarly, new research has found that one in four employees in the UK has experienced suicidal thoughts while at work, highlighting the need for a more empathetic and values-driven approach to leadership.
“In order to address these issues, OSH professionals must be proactive in incorporating the lessons learned from the pandemic into crisis and continuity plans. With the events in Ukraine and the rise in the cost of living, it is essential that these plans are robust and effective in mitigating any potential disruptions,” Tozser emphasises.
One area of particular concern is the mental health of employees. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines on mental health at work, providing evidence-based recommendations to promote mental health and prevent mental health conditions. The Catch the Wave initiative from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) will also have a significant impact in providing the right environment, values, and culture to develop and retain people as the foundation of productivity and profitability.
“Despite advancements in technology – from autonomous manufacturing to state-of-the-art safety systems – we still see fatalities that could have been easily prevented. This is partly due to a lack of investment in safer technology and, instead, a focus on employee competency. However, the industry is slowly beginning to adopt the ‘lean manufacturing’ methodology, which focuses on minimising waste while maximising productivity, to further improve the safety of their employees,” Tozser adds.
Jordyn Aitken, Asia-Pacific health, safety, and environment manager at Alltech, believes that the issues facing the safety profession which were brought into the spotlight during the pandemic will persist: “Business continuity will remain a focus, with industry investing and preparing for future pandemics. Additionally, there will be a continued focus on mental health, with the WHO and ILO calling for action to address declining mental health in the working population.”
Enter the EHS Congress, the event that’s here to make your job a little easier. This year’s event is dedicated to providing health and safety directors with the latest tools, techniques, and best practices to create a safer and more productive work environment for employees. The conference, taking place on 24 to 25 May in beautiful Berlin, will feature world-class speakers, interactive breakout workshops, and smart-app powered one-on-one meetings.
“As we gather in Berlin for the EHS Congress, let us use this opportunity to share ideas and best practices to further our common goal of creating a safer and healthier world of work. Join us and be a part of creating a brighter future,” Tozser urges.