The beginning of the 21st century is experiencing tremendous social,
political, and technological changes, combined with unprecedented climate change.
Recent trends towards non-standard employment, growing economic and health
disparities, and the decline of unions have served to undercut worker health and safety
protections. Traditional workplace hazards remain important and preventable
contributors to injuries and illness while new and/or newly recognized work factors are
also becoming apparent. To meet the needs of the changing times, the traditional focus
of occupational safety and health on industrial hazards is shifting toward a more
holistic framework that incorporates other work stressors, underlying disparities, and
the interactions with non-work factors. In this chapter, the major issues affecting
workers today are examined through the two defining public health crises of our time,
the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Initial lessons and observations from
these global challenges inform the direction occupational safety and health will take to
protect workers and prepare for an uncertain future.