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Why failing to prepare is not an option

Date posted
19 May 2024
Stuart Hughes
Estimated reading time
2 minute read

IOSH President Stuart Hughes CMIOSH will discuss our recent future of work report when he presents it to delegates at next month’s HSE Global Series Event. Here, he gives an overview of the subject.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Those words by Benjamin Franklin are very pertinent as we look towards the future world of work.

We don’t know for sure what work will look like in 10, 20 or 50 years’ time, but one thing we can be sure of is that it will be different. These changes will be driven by several factors, including advances in technology and social and environmental issues.

What it also gives us is an opportunity, an opportunity to make work safer, healthier and more sustainable. It’s an opportunity to reduce harm.

Latest estimates suggest that 7,500 people die every day because of unsafe or unhealthy working conditions. So, as we look toward the future, one which is shrouded in uncertainty, we must look for ways of better protecting people at work.

IOSH’s recently-released report Towards a safe and healthy future of work explores this. It looks at the current situation and peers into the future, examining how changes to work – caused by social and environmental issues and advances in technology – will impact on occupational safety and health.

I was delighted to be able to contribute the foreword to this report. In it, I urged people to read the report with four key principles at the front of their minds. Among them are execution, learning and evolving, but we must start with preparing.

The report goes on to provoke readers to consider what the future of work might look like and to consider opportunities to enhance safety and health. It acknowledges that, as a profession, we all have a role to play, and also calls on Governments and businesses to take action to ensure worker protection is at the forefront of the drive for change.

I'm taking every opportunity to discuss this report and engage with people in thinking about what’s next, which is the natural follow on from the ‘what-if’ questions the report raises. I did this recently at an OSH conference in the Middle East and next up is the UK HSE Global Series. I hope to see you there and engage in meaningful discussion that leads to action and change.

As OSH professionals, we all share a passion and dedication to protecting people. We want to ensure people can go to work without being harmed. And we have a key role to play in this. So let’s start preparing to succeed.

Want to know more?

You can hear from Stuart at the HSE Global Series event from 25-26 June 2024 at Chesford Grange Hotel, in Kenilworth, UK. IOSH members can receive a 10 per cent discount on their ticket.

Last updated: 24 May 2024

Stuart Hughes

Job role
IOSH President


  • Strategy and influence


  • building standards
  • Almarai and IOSH partner to enhance health and safety standards
  • How far can OSH go to save the world?
  • Fit to work with limitations