Skip to content

Research report: Future risk

Impact of work on health, safety and wellbeing

A literature review by British Safety Council and RobertsonCooper brings together the latest evidence, mostly from UK, into how work is likely to change in the future, what the probable impact will be on people's physical and mental wellbeing and what employers, trade unions, educators and government should do now to prepare for the future.

Results: New and emerging risks

The report proposes that the following risks will become more prevalent in the future: increasing pace of innovation, work insecurity and drive for efficiency will put more pressure on people that can lead to stress and poor mental wellbeing; maintaining the safety, health and wellbeing of older workers will become more pressing; environmental risks from work activities will grow; and a growth in unexpected risks when new ways of working combine humans with new materials, robotics and artificial intelligence that connect people across the globe.

What next? A few recommendations from British Safety Council

  • Promote good work and better quality jobs: share good practice and the benefits of good job design
  • Build resilience: starting with children, better resilience is a life skill in a changing world
  • Education must be relevant and forward thinking: we need to prepare for the future by skilling up for future work, including on soft skills
  • Keep the regulatory system up to date: a greater emphasis on smart regulation can help design-out risks in the future
  • Extend the understanding of future risks: we need more research about the risks that will emerge from changing work and how to mitigate them.