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2019 World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Worker's Memorial Day
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2019 World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Worker's Memorial Day

29 April 2019

Sunday 28 April 2019 marked the 2019 World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Worker’s Memorial Day. This day promotes safety and health in the workplace and honours those who have died from work-related injuries or illness. 

30 lives were lost in Australia due to a workplace injury in the first quarter of 2019. Workplace illness and death, aside from the economic cost to businesses, create intangible costs to workers and those close to them. Tragic circumstances caused by poor occupational health and safety practices have repeatedly proven throughout history that workplace injury and death is largely preventable.

Whilst major improvements to work practices have been achieved in recent decades, continued efforts are still required to prevent future suffering from occupational illness and death. 

This is both complicated and aided by the proliferation of new technologies that are changing the landscape of the Australian workforce. Technological developments introduce a host of benefits to businesses, from improved work processes to the achievement of greater efficiencies, however, they can also create greater, or new, forms of risk to the health and safety of workers.

 

The CSIRO report ‘Workplace Safety Futures’, identifies some of the major workplace trends that will have an impact on occupational health and safety for the future:

  • Rising screen time
  • An ageing workforce
  • Blurring the boundaries between work and home
  • Rising issue of workplace stress and mental health issues
  • The extending reach of systems and robotics

These trends prompt the question; Can the current WHS regulations meet the challenges introduced by these technologies?


 “As digital technologies and automation become more common, employment and workplaces are changing. It’s important that with an ageing workforce and rising levels of stress — we need to plan our future workplaces and ensure we make them safe and healthy and reduce the risk of workplace injury.” - Safe Work Australia

 

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