Health and safety is a constantly evolving discipline and is vastly influenced by social, political, and geographical factors. As a result, challenges to this field present itself in different shapes and forms. The positive aspect to this dilemma is that health and safety legislation also continues to evolve in tandem with these challenges, to eliminate or control the wide array and diversity of hazards that manifest in the workplace.
Taking the example of the UK as an example, consider the ever-growing complexity of health and safety legislation; from the Health and Morals of Apprentice Acts back in 1802, to the relatively recent but vastly influential Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act enacted in 2007. With industrial, technological, and social shifts come fresh challenges and norms that need to be addressed – some might be industry-specific, while others might affect every global worker in a given era.
The future workforce in Canada
Canada is considered a low-fertility rate country alongside other developed nations. If this statistic continues to remain the same over a longer period of time, workplaces will see a significantly older workforce which introduces a whole new element of health and safety risks that will need to be identified, evaluated, and controlled.
Likewise, the increasing manifestation of technological innovation in the workplaces necessitates early research, the proactive development of health and safety standards and legislation, in addition to adequate guidance and education.
All of this places an immense onus on employers and the JHSC to develop and sculpt their health and safety policies to be progressive and be oriented towards the future. Constant research to identify forthcoming challenges to workplace health and safety is crucial in this aspect.