What work tomorrow?
How will occupational risks evolve in the next decades ? That is the question posed by INRS through its foresight activity which aims to explore possible future scenarios and their consequences on occupational health. The Scanning and Foresight Unit, reporting to General Management, endeavours to promote such reflections through actions conducted both in-house and via external and international collaboration.
For several years now, INRS has been doing foresight to determine scenarios for the evolution of occupational health and safety over the next decades.
Several exercises have been conducted up to now :
Work after the Covid-19 pandemic : What changes in organizations. What are the health and safety issues ? (2022)
Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, companies and organizations have had to adapt their operations (physical distancing measures; widespread use of remote work; questioning of open-spaces, office towers, the status of permanent employee, schedules, teams, etc.).
If no one is able to predict exactly how this crisis will evolve and what its impact will be, it seems advisable to think about the transformations it will bring about in order to prepare for them, to promote them or to slow them down.
In a first step, a working group made up of the association Futuribles International and INRS has reflected, in a prospective approach, on the possible evolutions of work organizations in the next five years. In a second phase, INRS wanted to look more closely at the associated occupational health and safety issues by looking at remote work, industrial relocation, automation, the offshoring of certain services, and changes in employment conditions, all of which are transformations in work that may have consequences in terms of occupational risks and prevention.
What training in occupational health and safety in 2030? (2019-2020) (in French only)
How should occupational health & safety training evolve over the next ten years to best meet the challenges of work transformation? INRS led a forward-looking approach involving experts from various organizations and social partners in an attempt to answer this question. The objective is to provide the actors concerned with a diagnosis of the situation and of the future projects, in order to adapt the prevention lever that constitutes training in occupational health & safety.
A circular economy in 2040. What impact on occupational safety and health? What prevention? (2017)
In 2017, INRS partnered up to explore the possible futures of a circular economy for 2040 and to identify the occupational safety and health challenges.
With regard to occupational safety and health, the challenge is key. A circular economy offers above all, the chance for better integration of prevention ahead of the creation of new production modes, new services and new products. But it can also result in negative effects if concern for the protection of workers’ health is not taken into account, swept under environmental interests. The potential risks are high when it comes to revising production processes or using other raw materials (particularly from recycling), rolling out new technology, developing repair and reuse activities, transforming waste for it to be reused, etc.
The goal of this prospective exercise was not to attempt to predict the future of this economic model, but to explore the mechanisms in order to identify the impact on working conditions that its development implies. The product of this reflection is a series of questions (and not recommendations) on topics that call for economic players to be vigilant so as to conciliate environmental preservation and occupational risk prevention in the new production and consumption modes introduced by the circular economy.
Platformisation 2027 - Consequences on occupational safety and health (2016-2017)
In 2016-2017, INRS carried out a foresight exercise on platformisation and its impacts on occupational safety and health in 2027. This exercise was built on the previous exercise conducted in 2016 on modes and methods of production in France in 2040. It was done in partnership with OSH bodies, institutional players and “new economy” participants. Several scenarios and three activity sectors (health, retail, interior construction) were examined.
Modes and methods of production in France in 2040 (2015-2016)
What are the production modes of the future ? And their consequences on occupational health and safety ? This exercise comprised four major stages :
- a retrospective phase to review the development of production modes over the previous 25 years and their consequences on occupational safety and health and to determine the factors influencing production modes and occupational safety and health (artificial intelligence, new technologies, forms of work contracts, etc.),
- determination of any breaking points or changes in the previous 25 years that could have had an impact on those factors,
- identification of the main challenges in terms of production and work organisation that would influence future changes,
- specific breakdown of these results in terms of occupational risks and prevention.
Development of nanomaterials by 2030 and their consequences on occupational safety and health in small enterprises in France (2014)
This exercise was conducted in cooperation with French partners, the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund (Suva) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA).
Depending on the development of nanomaterials, worker exposure and therefore the risk prevention measures to be implemented will not be the same. A multi-disciplinary working group designed four scenarios about the development of nanomaterials in France and deduced the impact of each of them on occupational risk prevention.
Use of physical assistance robots by the year 2030 (2013)
While these new types of industrial, service or personal care robots present a real opportunity for people at work, they also bring new risks for the health and safety of operators. Therefore, our experts have created different possible scenarios about how they may evolve and analysed their potential impact on occupational safety and health.