Monday, November 30, 2015

New Technologies Bring OSH Challenges in Future of Work

Developments in the labor market and new technologies offer advances in workplace activities and processes, but they can also pose new challenges. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), new technologies present new benefits, costs, possibilities and threats; and they all have OSH implications.

Three advancements in particular are expected to affect OSH in the future including crowdsourcing, robotics and performance enhancing drugs. According to the agency, technological developments have introduced opportunities for relocating work out of traditional workplaces, creating an entirely new form of work organizations organized through online labor exchanges. Artificial intelligence is also growing rapidly. Although robots provide many benefits, there are some potential downsides including challenges to personal privacy and data protection, over-hyped expectations and increasing technological complexity. Drug use is another challenge, according to the agency. The use of drugs as cognitive enhancers is becoming normalized among certain groups of workers and it is only likely to increase with an increasingly competitive work environment.

To help prepare companies for future challenges, EU-OSHA released discussion papers on crowdsourcing, performance-enhancing drugs and robotics. Visit find more resources.