The changing face of Health and Safety

When you think of health and safety training, you might well think of outdated VHS tapes and paper print-outs, or perhaps an hour or two spent watching PowerPoint slides flicking past. In terms of content, it might be fire safety that springs to mind, or advice on slips, trips and falls.

Our understanding of what health and safety really means has changed a great deal in recent years. The information taught and the ways in which we absorb that information have been overhauled, as the way we live and work evolves and adapts.

Health and safety training has never been glamorous, and one of the key barriers to its full success over time has been a lack of real interest. In many industries, there’s an assumption that much of it is just common sense, or that serious incidents just won’t happen. Coupled with learning formats which can lack stimulation and fail to catch our attention, this kind of attitude continues to lead to all manner of workplace accidents and injuries.

As technology’s impact on everyday life continues to grow, the health and safety industry is taking strides to keep up and try to get ahead of the curve. From Mental Health First Aid to augmented reality training exercises, here are a few key ways in which our understanding of health and safety is getting an update.

Wellbeing as a safety concern

In the UK alone, more than 12 million working days were lost in 2017 because of work-related mental health issues. CIPD’s recent Wellbeing at Work survey found that UK employers stated poor mental health as the number one cause of long-term employee absence, and though physical accidents and injuries have been on the decline since the Health and Safety Executive was formed many decades ago, stress-related absence and reported mental health problems are on the rise.

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Mental Health First Aider should be just as obligatory in the workplace as a fire warden or physical First Aider, it’s time for all industries to keep up with changes to the meaning of “health and safety”