For many people, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the definitive festive story. As you probably know, it tells the tale of a miserly man finding redemption thanks to a series of ghostly visits and journeys into the past and future. With the festive season upon us, we thought we’d offer our own take on this classic book. So, without further ado, let us take you on a journey into the past, future, and finally the present of health and safety…
The Ghost of H&S Past
As we’ve mentioned before, the Ancient Babylonians are widely regarded as the first civilisation to legislate to provide safer working practices, with Law 229 of 4000-year-old Code of Hammurabi foreshadowing today’s modern construction laws. We’ve also discussed the very earliest road safety signs, which started appearing in the UK from the 17th Century onwards. However, for the purpose of this festive post, we’re not going that far back. Rather, we’re going to look back at some of the highlights you might have missed from this year’s Workplace Safety Blog.
The biggest stories include the new COMAH Regulations, which were introduced in June and featured a number of changes to the existing regulations. Also, with stress continuing to be a massive issue in the UK workplace, our workplace safety manager Rob Burgon had some advice on how to combat it. We told you how Robert Baden Powell can help you with Safer People Handling. Finally, we did actually have a look back into the more distant past in an article that provided some key lessons from history that can help shape modern day health and safety.
The Future of Health & Safety
Ok, first the bad news. Here at RoSPA HQ, we don’t have a crystal ball that allows us to peer into the future and see what the world of health and safety will look like in ten, or even five years time. Having said that, everyday seems to bring more news of technological innovations that would make even Marty McFly’s jaw drop. As we mentioned last year, many major car manufacturers have been hard at work test-driving their driverless cars on roads around the world. When these finally hit the market, they will undoubtedly have a huge and unforeseeable impact on H&S, not least because current road laws – many of which date back to the time of horse-drawn carriages – have not kept pace with emerging technology, leaving issues such as liability a real unknown.
Another futuristic technology that has gained more traction this year is the rise of unmanned drones. Amazon have led the pack here, with their current advert featuring their new drone-delivery scheme – which will allegedly go live within the next four years! Again, the law is scrambling to keep up with the change of pace in technology, but there is hope that drone technology could be harnessed for life saving, as well as commercial ends. David Walker, RoSPA’s leisure safety manager, explains: ‘It’s not outside the realms of possibility that drones could one day be used to patrol stretches of our coastlines and waterways to help identify people in trouble.’
Whatever happens, in the future, you can be sure that Workplace Safety Blog will bring you all of the latest news and views on H&S innovations – make sure you follow us so you don’t miss out!
Right Here, Right Now
Finally, to the present. As a health and safety professional, you should be proud of the often unseen difference you make every single day. In the bad old days, people used to go to work in fear, unsure whether they’d come home at all. This year, the number of workers injured or killed continued to fall. And that’s partly down to you. It might sound dramatic, but families will be together for Christmas this year because of the hard work you do. It’s something we should celebrate, for sure…
Yet there’s still so much work to do.
Christmas is a time for reflection, and while we savour our successes, it’s important we also focus on areas we can improve on. So, while you’re reading this, why not ask yourself what is the one thing you could do today to make a real difference? After all, there’s no time like the present!
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