SafetyCulture & Scott Cam are urging outdoor workers to prioritise sun protection, offering free products & policy documents. Find out more here.

Australia's Health and Safety Trends and Predictions in 2024

Australia's Health and Safety Trends and Predictions in 2024

Jan 16th 2024

Australia's Health and Safety Trends and Predictions in 2024

The Health and Safety sector is gearing up for remarkable advancements and transformations this year. This blog will explore emerging trends and predictions to shape Australia's health and safety landscape. From technology integration to mental health considerations, let us delve into the significant advancements workers and business executives must monitor to remain ahead of the ever-changing landscape.

1. Technology Integration for Safety and Efficiency

Technology integration has been a game-changer in the Health and Safety sector. Organisations can leverage technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and wearables to bolster safety measures and streamline operations. These emerging technologies enhance safety protocols and optimise processes, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness. From incident reporting to risk assessments, technology is revolutionising how organisations approach Health and Safety.

Here are some exciting examples of how technology is driving advancements in health and safety:

  • AI-powered safety inspections: AI can detect potential hazards or non-compliance issues on job sites, reducing the risk of incidents and injuries.
  • IoT sensors for real-time monitoring: IoT sensors can track environmental factors like temperature and air quality, providing data to help prevent exposure to harmful substances.
  • Wearables for worker safety: Wearable technology can track physical activity, heart rate, and fatigue levels to identify potential risks and prevent accidents.
  • Telemedicine: This allows doctors and patients to communicate remotely, making healthcare more accessible. It's precious in rural areas where medical facilities may be scarce.
  • Drones: Drones can inspect hard-to-reach areas or dangerous environments, reducing the risk to human workers.
  • Robotics: Robots can perform repetitive and hazardous tasks, reducing the risk of work-related accidents. They can also assist in patient care in healthcare settings.
  • Blockchain: This technology can secure the storage and transfer of patient records, improving data security in healthcare.
  • Smart Buildings: Smart buildings use sensors, actuators, and microchips to monitor and control building operations, such as air quality, temperature, and lighting.

2. Focus on Mental Health in the Health and Safety Spectrum

Organisations are recognising the impact of mental health on overall well-being and productivity. In 2024, we can expect more organisations to incorporate mental health initiatives into their safety programs to support employees' mental well-being.

Australia's initiatives this year focus on promoting mental well-being and supporting those with mental illness. Key priorities include:

  • Mental Health Australia's Strategic Plan 2021-2024: This strategy aims to give voices to individuals with lived experiences of mental health issues and endured transformations through advocacy. It also calls for a national agreement and action plan to address mental health.
  • Mental Health Strategy 2022 – 2024: Safe Work Australia has recently launched a strategy that outlines the critical importance of prioritising the health and well-being of workers, as well as fostering a positive workplace culture.
  • Budget Investment for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: The Australian government has allocated a substantial investment of $586.9 million for the 2023-2024 budget. This funding is solely for driving mental health and suicide prevention system reforms.

A worker using their thumbprint to check in to their shift and get into the building

3. Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship

Sustainability in health and safety is becoming increasingly essential to organisations due to a growing awareness of the impacts of their operations on the environment. Some emerging trends in this area include:

Emergence of Environmental Protection Laws

Growing public concerns surrounding environmental issues have led to the emergence of environmental protection laws, which, in turn, drive market expansion. The global environment health and safety (EHS) market reached USD 49.3 billion in 2023. It is projected at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% from 2024 to 2030. Companies in various countries, including the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia, must comply with stringent wastewater treatment and industrial waste disposal regulations, such as Australia's National Pollutant Inventory (NPI).

Sustainable Healthcare

The health system is increasingly responding to climate change, with policies and programs focusing on sustainable healthcare. Sustainable healthcare initiatives aim to reduce the industry's carbon footprint, improve energy efficiency, and decrease waste generation. For example, healthcare facilities implement sustainable energy solutions, such as solar-powered medical equipment and efficient lighting systems.

Green Procurement

Organisations are recognising the impact of their supply chain and procurement practices on the environment. As a result, we can expect to see more organisations adopting green procurement policies in 2024. This involves procuring products and services that have minimal environmental impact or support sustainability

Public Health Plan

A public health plan is a strategic document that outlines how a community or a nation will address public health challenges at a population level. These plans typically outline goals, objectives, and strategies to address various health and safety concerns and promote community health and well-being. One example is South Australia's Public Health Plan (2019-2024) envisions friendly, safe, and sustainable communities, emphasising workplace health, safety, and well-being.

This is one of the emerging health and safety trends in 2024, where we can expect more regions and countries to adopt similar plans to promote public health and sustainability.

ESG Developments

ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, is a set of standards that socially conscious investors use to screen investments. ESG in Australia has been gaining momentum, playing a crucial role in the business and investment world. Companies are evaluated based on environmental impact, social responsibilities, and governance practices. This trend aligns with a growing global emphasis on sustainable investing, which can influence workplace policies and procedures.

4. Data Analytics for Predictive Safety Measures

Another of the trends for occupational health and safety in 2024 is using data analytics to predict, prevent, and mitigate various workplace safety hazards. Integrating technology and data-driven safety solutions can transform workplace health and safety. Some applications of data analytics in OHS include:

Predictive Analytics for Injury Prevention

Many organisations now leverage predictive analytics to identify potential hazards or high-risk areas within their operations. An example scenario would be a machine malfunction that could cause an injury. If the data analytics system detects anomalies in machine performance or safety training, it can alert relevant personnel to take preventive measures before any injury occurs.

Predictive Analytics for Compliance

In OHS compliance monitoring, predictive analytics can detect non-compliance areas and enable proactive corrective actions. How? By feeding this data into the system, organisations can enhance their ability to predict and address compliance issues.

Smart Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Smart PPE refers to personal protective equipment integrating sensors, cameras, or tracking systems. These technologies collect data on workers' movements, behaviours, and environments. This information is then used for predictive analytics to identify potential hazards or unsafe work practices.

Wearable Biometric Sensors

Wearable biometric sensors are another application of data analytics in OHS. These devices collect real-time data on workers' vital signs, such as heart rate and body temperature, and alert them or relevant personnel to take breaks or seek medical attention if necessary. This can help prevent fatigue-related accidents and illnesses.

female office worker working from her home with her coworkers on video chat

5. HR Trends

Human resources (HR) is critical in shaping workplace culture and promoting employee safety and well-being. This department is expected to lead the charge towards a more sustainable, inclusive future. This could include implementing environmentally friendly practices in the workplace.

In 2024, we can expect to see more organisations investing in the following HR trends, such as:

Flexible Work Arrangements

With the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the benefits of remote work, organisations are now offering more flexible work arrangements to promote a better work-life balance, protecting employee health and reducing the environmental impacts of commuting.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Health and safety in the workplace are not just physical but also include psychological safety. They involve creating a workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. Organisations are expected to focus on developing initiatives that promote these values within their workforce.

Remote Work and the Gig Economy

The pandemic also accelerated the growth of remote work and the gig economy, which refers to temporary or freelance workers. According to CNBC, 90% of companies plan to return to the office by the end of 2024, but the traditional five-day commute is becoming obsolete. This suggests a hybrid model where employees divide their time between the office and remote work.

In 2024, we expect that organisations will continue embracing these trends and develop strategies to ensure the health and safety of these workers.

How to Stay Agile and Adaptive with SafetyDocs Infographic | SafetyDocs by SafetyCulture

Stay Agile and Adaptive with SafetyDocs

We cannot stop these changes and trends from happening, but you can prepare for them. Workplaces must stay agile and adaptive to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. SafetyDocs by SafetyCulture is your partner for staying abreast of these trends.

We offer up-to-date safety documents, templates, and customisable checklists accessible from any device. This makes it easier for businesses to implement new safety practices quickly and efficiently. Our documents are developed by safety experts, ensuring they are compliant and tailored to specific industries.

To start your journey towards a safer and more sustainable workplace, browse the following safety documents:

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your organisation proactively manage health and safety in the workplace. Let's work together to create a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future.  

Our team of experts is dedicated to providing accurate and informative content. Craig Cruickshank, our senior HSEQ advisor at SafetyDocs by SafetyCulture has reviewed this blog post to ensure the highest level of quality.

Learn more about Craig's work on LinkedIn for more industry insights.

Available for instant download and supplied in fully editable MS Word format for use in your business.

Please note that the above information is provided as a comment only and should not be relied on as professional, legal or financial advice.

Share This Article