Perceptions, experiences and opportunities for occupational safety and health professionals arising out of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gold, David ORCID logoORCID:, Hughes, Stuart and Thomas, David ORCID logoORCID: (2021) Perceptions, experiences and opportunities for occupational safety and health professionals arising out of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8 (1) , 271. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2662-9992 [Article] (doi:10.1057/s41599-021-00955-y)

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This study explored perceptions, experiences and opportunities for the occupational safety and health professional (OSHP) as a result of COVID-19. Using qualitative methods, interviews took place with OSHPs in two organisations to understand how their role developed during the pandemic. Additionally, seven focus groups were organised and met virtually, using the Zoom platform, each addressing a different topic identified by the researchers. Participants (n = 45) from 10 different countries were distributed among the focus groups. Topics were separated into four themes: impact on the workplace; the psychosocial dynamic; medical and health issues and occupational safety and health (OSH) issues. Results were subsequently divided into seven action categories and compared with the findings from the organisational interviews. Comparison pointed to an expanded role for the OSHP including business continuity, resilience and wellbeing in addition to assessing and controlling risks emerging during the pandemic. There is also the need for a means to adequately disseminate trustworthy information. Results indicated that there was no single ‘average’ role of the OSHP, demonstrating essential contributions as a member of the management team. Results also stressed that the pandemic carried three health-related co-morbidities, stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and burnout. Directions for future research included: the education of the OSHP to support a move away from compliance towards risk management; determining how mental health issues in organisations should be managed; expanded roles for OSHPs within business; and implications for professional bodies, membership institutions and academia in supporting the above-mentioned emerging roles.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 34178
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2021
Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2021 10:13
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2022 13:20

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