The coronavirus pandemic has given a major shock to global healthcare systems. One of the most important lessons that we are learning from the pandemic is the need to protect employees from health risks in the workplace. The field of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is therefore an essential one for the present, and for the future.

The world has always needed OHS workers

Occupational health and safety has always been a crucially important field. In potentially dangerous industries such as mining, construction and manufacturing, OHS professionals are at the forefront of protecting lives.

They also play a role in ensuring that every workspace, from offices, to hotels, retail outlets and everything in between, have the correct measures in place to protect both workers and customers.

And now we need them even more

When the coronavirus hit, few countries could have predicated the devastating impact it would have. Employers, in particular, have had to consider the impacts that the risk would have on their business and on their staff members.

Many businesses were forced to re-assess and increase their hygiene standards in accordance with global guidelines and country regulations. The Department of Labour advised employers to “go back to basics” by conducting hazard identification and risk assessment to determine the level of risk exposure and communicate all information to workers.

The steps that businesses had to take included:

  • Providing hand sanitiser.
  • Providing protective equipment such as facemasks and gloves.
  • Eliminating the use of fingerprint scanners.
  • Ensuring that employees were not situated too close to each at work.
  • Ensuring that offices were properly ventilated. 
  • Ensuring that all work surfaces were regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Minimising the health risk to customers and clients.

The situation has escalated to such an extent that many businesses around the world have had to shut down temporarily. But the virus has proved to be a massive wake-up call for the future, in terms of protecting against new health risks as they present themselves.

As a result, this means that OHS regulations will have to be more strictly followed by employers, and more strictly enforced by professionals such as OHS inspectors. Businesses will undoubtedly be scrambling to hire OHS practitioners in the future, in order to ensure that health risks are properly protected against.

Similarly, South Africa’s government is already investing more in hiring OHS professionals. And with the current health situation, there is likely to be an even greater expansion going forward.

So what can you study to enter the field of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)?

If you want to take your place in the growing industry of OHS, then there are a number of courses you can take. We suggest that you browse Oxbridge Academy’s distance learning courses.

Remember that when you study with us, you’re studying with the college that cares about providing the best possible support to students. We take the distance out of distance learning, walking with you every step of the way!