A recent post at OH&S online outlines four key trends that will impact safety in the year ahead. Considering the constantly changing landscape of regulations, labor needs and increasing substance legalization and addiction, employers must identify new and creative ways to mitigate workplace hazards.
Author Liz Griggs, CEO of Canterbury Healthcare, says organizations need to be aware of these trends to address the most prevalent workplace concerns in 2016. Here's a brief summary of each:
1. Psycho-social, depression, and obesity issues
The ongoing and emerging trend of psycho-social, depression, and obesity issues will continue to impact safety. While many organizations typically address these issues only after an employee is depressed about an injury, it has become vital for employers to identify employees who bring depression and other social issues to the job - before an incident occurs.
2. Opioid addiction
Drug abuse and addictions will continue to be a growing concern in the United States. There are 1.9 million Americans now living with prescription opioid abuse or dependence. Pain killer addiction driven by workers' compensation injury claims is another concern. Injury prevention programs can help break the addiction cycle by preventing injuries in the first place.
3. Predictive analytics and Big Data
We will see a shift toward organizations using Big Data and predictive analytics to help injured workers return to work more efficiently. Predictive analytics uses technology and statistical methods to search through massive amounts of information, analyzing it to predict outcomes for individual patients.
4. Temp and contractor liabilities
The National Labor Relations Board now views temporary workers essentially the same as regular employees. In response, companies must invest in workplace safety and prevention solutions for their temporary and contract employees, including workers' compensation costs for independent contractors.
Keep these trends in mind with your workplace safety strategies for 2016 and you will be better equipped to mitigate business liabilities and other risks.