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5 Occupational Safety Trends that Top-of-Mind for 2022

There is little doubt that worker safety issues will be top of mind for employers in 2022. Risk & Insurance reports that workplace injuries cost the U.S. economy roughly $52 billion to $60 billion per year, roughly $1 billion per week. Focusing on injury prevention can dramatically cut the number of on-the-job injuries suffered every year.

In our 2021 post, Workplace Safety Trends You Need to Know for 2021, we talked about multi-generational workforces, online health services, a focus on total wellness, increased safety training for workers, and onsite services. We see most of these trends continuing into 2022 with a slightly different perspective.

The pandemic has put a renewed focus on occupational safety and wellness with a fresh look at what it takes to keep workers safe and productive. Here are five workplace safety trends to watch for in 2022.

  1. Safety culture becomes more visible within companies – The safety culture program and values start with senior leadership and translate to all levels of the organization. Communication is the key to a healthy, safe, and productive workplace. In 2022, we expect companies to take a proactive role in supporting and promoting safety and wellness. Firms will walk the talk of the values of the safety program, or employees will seek employment elsewhere.

  2. Industrial ergonomics takes center stage - Business stakeholders often overlook that ergonomics can improve business performance. Industrial ergonomics, sometimes referred to as manufacturing ergonomics, improves employee wellbeing and reduces absenteeism, injuries, and workers’ compensation costs. Industrial ergonomics will become a priority for business stakeholders as firms deal with higher absenteeism and lost productivity due to labor shortages and the ongoing pandemic.

  3. Emphasis on total wellness – Covid fatigue is real, and mental health experts say it should not be ignored. Given today’s challenges and disruption, employee wellbeing, including mental and musculoskeletal health, has become a focal point for organizations to offset the negative impact of the pandemic on engagement and performance. Research shows that this positively impacts retention, absenteeism levels, productivity, and overall satisfaction. Organizations leading the way in employee wellbeing embed it in all aspects of their people strategy.

  4. Organizations rethink pre-hire programs – Due to labor shortages, there has been an ongoing battle between talent acquisition and EH&S regarding post-offer screening testing (POET). Talent acquisition can’t hire people fast enough, and they want to eliminate POET testing. To mitigate risk, EH&S is implementing new post-hire work conditioning programs to replace pre-hire screening.

  5.  Increase in direct-to-employer health services – In 2022, we expect to see more employers bypassing the traditional health system to save on spiraling costs. Companies are seeking outside expertise on health and wellness issues to keep their employees healthy and productive. There will be more onsite clinics that will handle a variety of routine care to employees, including mental and musculoskeletal health.

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