International News

EU: Big data and AI - OHS implications
The use of big data, combined with machine learning technology, is becoming more common in Europe's workplaces. Two new EU-OSHA Foresight discussion papers review the benefits and potential risks of using such digital developments on health and safety at the workplace. The first article, on the use of Big Data for inspection efficiency, deals with the targeting of occupational safety and health (OSH) inspections.

The second article outlines where and how artificial intelligence (AI) is being applied, e.g. workplace decision-making in human resources (people analytics, recruitment procedures), AI augmented robotics, chatbots in support centres, or wearable technologies in the production assembly line. Both authors conclude that combining both human and AI offers the best way forward.

The authors recommend ways to manage the most important risks. It is worth stressing that it is not technology in isolation that creates OSH benefits or risks, it is instead the implementation of technology that creates negative or positive conditions.
Read the articles on the future role of big data for Inspection Efficiency and on the benefits and risks of AI in Europe's workplaces. Check out EU-OSHA's more information on digitalisation and occupational safety and health

India: seven workers killed cleaning hotel tank
Seven workers have suffocated to death while cleaning a hotel septic tank in western India without safety gear. The hotel owner has been charged with causing death due to negligence following the incident on Friday night in Gujarat state's Vadodara district.

Four of those killed had been called to clean the tank; the other three were hotel employees who were assisting. "One person first entered the tank, but when he did not come out and did not respond to calls, three other cleaners went inside to help him," said Vadodara fire officer Nikunj Azad, who was leading the rescue operation. When all four did not emerge after some time, the three hotel employees entered the tank, with all seven of them losing their lives in the process

Hundreds of thousands of mostly low-caste Indians are employed as "manual scavengers" who clear underground pipes and septic tanks without any protective gear or masks. Tragically such deaths are not uncommon in India, and laws passed in 2013 to stamp out the age-old practice have had little effect. Read more: ABC news online

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