A policy brief from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) highlights the benefits and risks associated with digital monitoring systems in the workplace.
While these systems can help prevent injuries and emergencies by collecting accurate data, they also pose certain challenges. One concern is that employers might overly rely on these systems, neglecting other necessary safety measures.
Additionally, wearables, such as devices that monitor sleep patterns, can blur the line between work and private life. Such devices may emphasize individual measures instead of implementing proper occupational controls. However, digital monitoring systems can offer substantial improvements in occupational safety and health by enhancing awareness, preventing accidents, and minimizing their consequences.
Wearable technologies are already being used in sectors like transport, mining, and construction to detect signs of fatigue, stress, and impaired decision-making. They can also instruct workers to cease certain activities or help them maintain correct postures. In the event of incidents, digital monitoring systems enable quick interventions, accurate reporting, and efficient investigations.
GPS tracking allows for the rapid location and rescue of workers in dangerous situations. The policy brief emphasizes the importance of consulting worker representatives and safety professionals when implementing monitoring systems to ensure their effective and appropriate use.
Overall, digital monitoring systems offer opportunities for improving occupational safety and health but require careful consideration to avoid potential pitfalls and maintain a balanced approach to workplace safety.
EU-OSHA has also released two other new policy briefs on the issue: