As we approach 2018, now is a good time to look at some external trends to gauge what is coming down the pike. At System Improvements we recently fired up the crystal balls, and spotted five trends that will impact companies:

  • Proactive Safety Culture,
  • Reporting Capability
  • Focus on Prevention
  • Work force changes
  • Increased Drug Use

Let’s look at each of these.

Proactive Safety Culture: Executives continue to get more involved, safety is seen as an improvement opportunity and something to be managed, rather than a liability driven by chance or “workers unsafe actions”. Preventive methods will be used more, like work site evaluations, audits, functional job analysis, and ergonomics training. Instead of having impossible goals like “Zero Harm”, companies will set improvement KPIs, then investigate, track and trend incidents and near misses and put corrective actions in place

Reporting Capability: User- friendly software like TapRooT® and Enablon is available for capturing data and carrying out analysis. Mobile apps and devices like wearable technology enables rapid collection and dissemination of findings. Training is readily available to make sense of the data collected and empower the front line

Focus on Prevention: Companies take active steps to prevent injuries and promote health and safety. We will see more fitness and wellness initiatives but also focus on “intangible” issues like stress, fatigue and mental health. Companies out of line will face ever- increasing Workers Comp costs

Work Force Changes: The age distribution and values of workers are changing, with millennials entering the workforce. The shortage of skilled workers will get worse, and there will be more contract and temp workers. It will be important to involve all these groups in the EHSQ efforts. There will also be more lone and unsupervised workers, which makes behavior- based safety much more difficult to implement

Increased Use of Illegal and Legalized Drugs:  Serious safety, quality and environmental risk. Executives will have to find ways to manage the opioids cycle where injuries drive prescriptions and workers under the influence of opioids get injured again… In some jurisdictions legalization of marijuana is disqualifying a large share of the worker pool from safely operating vehicles, machinery and equipment. In the Hotels & restaurant industry, research found up to 19% of workers using drugs on a regular basis, a clear risk in e.g. kitchen areas. Alcohol will continue to be an issue, not least in Mining and Construction where up to a fifth of workers are estimated to be affected.

A good way to prepare for these trends is to do effective Root Cause Analysis. The TapRooT® methodology helps companies identify root causes of incidents, and put effective corrective actions in place. The process is also used for proactive audits, where issues can be nipped in the bud. Click here for more information: 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training.