5 workplace safety trends to watch in 2021

It’s safe to say that 2020 was one for the books. Now that 2021 is here, it seems fitting to re-evaluate processes and procedures and address as needed. That said, it’s also helpful to keep your finger on the pulse of industry trends and best practices. Here are a few to watch this year:

1) Continued investment in (virtual) professional development: The pandemic disrupted nearly every industry on the planet and recycling industries were no exception. Companies had to find new ways to safely go about executing their longstanding operations — and educate their workers at the same time. 

Still even with the promise of multiple vaccines, some organizations would rather not take the risk associated with on-site seminars. Virtual learning offers an avenue by which to disseminate standardized documents and videos to ensure all employees have a baseline knowledge of proper safety protocols.

2) Smart PPE: Out of necessity comes innovation. In the last year, many startups have introduced designs for gloves, masks, and other forms of PPE. For instance, face masks created with 3-D printing technology make for a more custom fit. Another example is the SEEUS95, a reusable N95 see-through biofilter that fits snugger than a standard mask with a bonus feature: it shares facial expressions hidden by most styles on the market. 

3) Shifting focus from detection to prevention: As the saying goes and I have expounded upon, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and safety managers need to take note. A detection-focused approach is proven to reduce the number of incidents and reduces long-term expenses. When implemented, leaders can work towards improving incident management, which tends to be a top priority at the corporate level.

4) Commitment to addressing the “people side” of the business: Employees are human and they don’t simply leave their problems “at home.” The relationship between mental health, substance abuse issues, overall performance, on-the-job injuries and even fatalities cannot be discounted in 2021. As such, organizations are investing more in self-assessment tools, health coaching, workshops and even upping the ante on healthcare benefits.

5) Predictive safety modeling: The past can help prevent the future. That’s exactly the concept behind predictive modeling. Such a tool gives you a snapshot of what might be in store by taking into account a combination of prior incidents and current safety measures in place. Armed with such knowledge, you can zero-in on your focus, target potential blind spots, and make the worksite generally a safer place.

Which of these trends are on your radar? Remember, incident prevention is everyone’s job. Our program challenges workers and managers to look at their workplace “through the eyes of a fire chief.”

The result is that people better understand the potential outcomes triggered by risky behavior and unsafe conditions and will be motivated to keep their work and home environments fire safe. As always, let me know how I might help in any way.

In safety,

Kenn

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