Day for Safety and Health at Work, the International Labour Organization (ILO)
released the study ‘Safety and Health at the Heart of
the Future of Work’.
It looks at the future of occupational safety and health and discusses the
effects of new technologies, demographic change, environmental developments and
new types of work organisation on employees.
Absenteeism has an impact on the economy
to the report, almost 3 million workers worldwide die every year as a result of
workplace accidents or occupational diseases. In total, some 370 million people
become ill or have an accident at work each year. The report estimates that lost
work days due to health and safety problems account for nearly 4% of global
GDP, and in some countries this figure is as high as 6% of national GDP.
there is an increase in psychosocial risks, work-related stress and
noncommunicable diseases such as circulatory and respiratory diseases and
cancer. The reasons for this include temporary work contracts, increasing
demands for flexibility in working hours and the increased use of technologies
to monitor employees.
Pros and cons of the new world of work
to the ILO, smart technologies can help to improve the working conditions of
employees; for example, by detecting fatigue at an early stage or monitoring
environmental factors such as air quality. However, they could also lead to a
perceived loss of autonomy. New opportunities for workers, such as home-based
work, can be practical, but they also carry risks that are often
underestimated. These include the danger of social isolation or poorer
the future, the report highlights important trends that represent opportunities
and challenges. Digitalisation, robotics and nanotechnology, if properly used,
could help to reduce the number of accidents and make it easier to conduct
training and labour inspections. Climate change could trigger sustainable
development and lead to a shift towards a green economy with new forms of work.
Finally, changes in work organisation could bring the necessary flexibility to
enable more people to enter the labour market.
Shaping the future
In order to
ensure that opportunities outweigh challenges in the future, it is important
for policy makers and interest groups to focus on the risks so that
international labour standards and national legislation are strengthened. There
also needs to be better public understanding of OSH issues.