The future of Work Health & Safety

The future of Work Health & Safety

Have you ever wondered what the workplace will look like in 20 years from now? With the increased use of digital technology, automation and artificial intelligence in workplaces combined with the ever growing number of entrepreneurs and freelance networks – Australia’s landscape is rapidly changing.

In one of the most interesting studies to come from SafeWork Australia who have partnered with CSIRO’s Data61 to release their “Workplace Safety Futures” report that explores the impact of emerging trends on work health and safety and workers compensation.

The report uncovers six key “Megatrends” that are reshaping our working environment. From the impact of the major advances in technology with extended reach of automated systems and robotics to technology enabled worldwide growth of peer-to-peer platforms like Uber and Airtasker which is causing a fundamental shift in what they call the ‘gig economy’.

Other “Megatrends” include Australia’s ageing workforce, Australian’s are staying in the workforce longer. The rising issue of workplace stress and mental health issues, the shift from manual labour jobs to sedentary jobs and those jobs often blur the boundaries between home and work life.

With these emerging changes becomes challenges for our WHS and workers compensation systems to be relevant and allow scope for these “Megatrends” that will continue to evolve over the years to come.

The report was designed to enable stakeholders and decision makers to begin thinking about the plausible futures before they eventuate and make wiser planning and strategic decisions.

The coming 20 years will bring significant changes that are likely to have disruptive impacts on the Australian working environment. Anticipating these impacts and preparing for a range of plausible futures is an important step in ensuring the long-term effectiveness of Australian WHS and workers’ compensation systems.

The report concludes by identifying several questions that require further exploration, notably how emerging technologies can improve WHS and workers compensation by leveraging the use of robots or automation to complete dangerous tasks. Could technology be used to reduce the rate of injuries and workers compensation claims?

Who is Data61?

Data61 is CSIRO’s data innovation group formed in 2016 from the integration of CSIRO’s Digital Productivity flagship and the National ICT Australia Ltd (NICTA). They combine global applied R&D data from a network pf partners in government, industry and academia which they call the D61+ Network. Through this network they use the groups capabilities to help Australia create new technology-based industries that can reach a global scale.

Read the Report

Over the coming weeks we look forward to exploring the “Megatrends” contained within this report and hope to provide insight to where WHS and workers compensation is heading for the next 20 years.

If you’d like to download a copy of the report via CSIRO Data61



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