7 Workplace Health and Safety Trends That Will Make a Big Impact in 2020

Workplaces are changing. As more Boomers retire, millennials move up the ranks and members of Gen Z begin to enter the workforce, the way that companies are structured and do business is changing. Offices are becoming more fluid, with an emphasis on worker health and safety as well as satisfaction. 

Companies want to attract more people who will be the right fit for the job and to retain those who are bringing the most benefit. For those reasons, they need to start adjusting their office plans and the way that business is done. This includes making the health and safety of their workers the top priority. 

Health and safety trends are beginning to emerge as more companies recognize issues and adopt good measures. With these come new innovations in workplace safety that can help companies achieve their goals even faster. These 7 workplace safety and health trends are poised to make a big impact in 2020 as a new decade begins and more people want to start it off right. 

1. Smart Safety

Smart tech is rapidly changing the way that people live and work. It’s also changing the way that people view their own personal health against health standards. Many companies are also beginning to adopt smart tech as a way to motivate employees to keep track of their health and safety on the job. 

This includes things like Personal Protection Equipment that workers may already wear on the job. Upgrading to smart versions can track heart rate, steps taken and even monitor blood alcohol levels. These kinds of devices can help improve employee health and motivate them to make additional changes on their own.

2. Cybersecurity

Safety in the workplace isn’t just about physical safety; there’s also cyber safety to consider as well. Any time your employees may be using workplace tech for personal use in their downtime, they could be risking issues such as identity theft or phishing schemes. 

Installing better cybersecurity on all office tech, both the items that are used strictly for work and those items such as laptops that may be going home with your employees at the end of the day, can help keep employees’ and your company’s data safe. 

3. Substance Abuse Awareness

Substance abuse is a serious problem in many areas of the country. And it affects people of all walks of life and in every industry. While for some people this starts as something that only impacts them at home, over time it can start to impact them in the workplace as well. For that reason, many companies are beginning to offer substance abuse awareness training. 

Substance abuse awareness training is often multifactorial. It helps employees identify risk factors, helps them understand healthy alternatives to substances they may want to try, and assists those who already have a problem with finding help. In some cases, this type of training is a one-and-done seminar, while other companies are putting ongoing awareness training into their schedules, so that employees are better able to access help when they need it. 

4. Ongoing and Up-to-Date Retraining

Employees that are completely up-to-date on the latest equipment, technologies and techniques are less likely to become injured on the job. They’re also more likely to engage with their work, increasing job performance. For these reasons, more companies are beginning to incorporate ongoing retraining into their schedules. 

Retraining helps remind long-term employees about the correct way to go about doing things, while also helping introduce new techniques and ideas.

And because the workforce is beginning to skew towards younger workers, more companies are also beginning to make these retrainings into a type of game. Gaming is something that most younger employees are familiar with and willingly engage with, so they’re more likely to retain what they learn in their training sessions and not to see them as a waste of time. 

5. Smoke and Fire Safety


More offices are including kitchens as part of their employee lounge space than ever before. However, cooking is one of the most common sources of commercial fires, which means that a kitchen could be putting your business at risk. If you take steps to include a kitchen for your employees, make sure you upgrade your smoke and fire safety devices as well. 

You likely already have working smoke detectors, alarms and sprinkler systems, but do your employees know where the evacuation routes are? And do you have ways to protect your employees from smoke and flame as they access those routes?

Evacuation routes should be made accessible to all employees so they know the best exit route to take in an emergency. Safety measures like smoke curtains should be installed in strategic areas such as elevators, stairwells and doorways to help keep employees safe as they make their way out.

6. Workstation Design

Flexible workstations have been a trend over the last several years. It allows employees the freedom to work where they want, increasing productivity and making employees happier. Along with workstation redesign, there’s also been an emphasis on health and safety that looks to continue into 2020.

This redesigning of the workstation involves various factors. Some are practical; if workstations are changing, then things like cords need to go, otherwise they become trip hazards. 

Others are more intuitive. How do people work best? Workplaces are beginning to incorporate standing desks, couches, hammocks and a variety of other ways that people can work so that employees can change position frequently throughout the day, bettering working conditions and decreasing stress and repetitive strain.

7. Safety Professionals

Human Resources (HR) is a changing entity, and in 2020, it’s about to start changing even faster. Gone are the days when HR was only responsible for hiring, firing and benefits paperwork. Now, HR is also comprised of safety professionals. These are people who have dedicated niche jobs that are solely for the purpose of helping with specific health and safety related tasks. 

These include ongoing retraining, substance abuse management, personal safety equipment management, creating safety programs and more. It will not be uncommon for large companies to have several safety professionals on staff, all with a very specific role to play.

Make Your Workplace Safer and Healthier in 2020

Keeping your employees safe and healthy can help increase productivity, lower stress and lower turnover. Going forward into 2020, more companies are going to be making health and safety a high priority. Consider these 7 trends to help your company do the same and get more out of the next decade.

For more ideas on how to create a safe working environment, contact an expert at Smoke Guard today.