Megatrends within the future of work, such as digital transformation, hybrid working, and increased focus on sustainability, worker well-being, and mental health, will require additional attention from businesses of all sizes across all industries.
The “S-factor” is not a reference to safety, as you may have thought, but to the S in “Environmental, Social and Governance,” commonly known as ESG. The link between EHS and ESG reporting has traditionally been focused on the environmental impact, such as a net-zero carbon goal. Post-Covid, we see a shift in the EHS and the ESG landscape towards people and social issue management.
The Social-factor in ESG will become increasingly important in the future of work as companies take greater responsibility for reporting their impact on the lives of their employees and contractors. When evaluating the “social” component for the company’s ESG score, you need to include factors such as employee safety policies, risk management, employee engagement, and training.
15 deaths every day
Unsafe workplaces are one of the most significant challenges of our time. After years of what seems to be neglecting workers' rights to safe and healthy workplaces, the U.S experienced the largest annual number of fatal occupational injuries since 2007. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019 — on average, more than 100 a week or about 15 deaths every day.
Poor health and safety management affects the worker and the business. The costs of work-related accidents and illnesses are considerable. New estimates from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) show that work-related accidents and illnesses cost the EU at least EUR 476 billion every year (equals 3,3% of European GDP). The cost of work-related cancers alone amounts to EUR 119.5 billion.
Building back Better for improved Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS)
The worldwide paradigm shift is strongly backed by new strategic frameworks like "The European Green Deal" and "Build Back Better (BBB)." Although much of these initiatives have roots in improving societies following natural disasters, re-building greater resilience, and systematically addressing their structural and human vulnerabilities, the plan heavily focuses on strengthening workers' rights to safe and healthy workplaces.
For example, the BBB Act includes a proposal to give The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the US (OSHA) $707 million for enforcement, standards development, whistleblower investigations, compliance assistance, State Plan funding, and related activities. It also includes a proposal to provide $133 million to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The main challenge of managing the many EHS tasks is that many companies are working in silos, using monolithic platforms that are difficult (if not impossible) to connect to other systems and data sources. It leaves many companies striving to gain the complete overview necessary to reduce risk to keep their employees and contractors safe at work.
With cloud-based solutions, organizations can build out best-of-breed technologies that meet both EHS and ESG standards.
EcoOnline is at the forefront of helping organizations protect their workforce and business and respond to changing regulations and marketplace demand. One of their strategic pillars is to support companies to eliminate work-related deaths and reduce work-related illness. Every day EcoOnline helps thousands of clients manage safety and environmental performance, ensure compliance, minimize risks – and all the while – improve their corporate profitability by leveraging advanced technologies.
The good news is that you can turn the increased reporting responsibility, higher fines, and more complex legislation into a competitive advantage. With EcoOnline, you can create a safe and future-proof workplace with the help of a scalable and cloud-based EHS-platform.