Digitalisation and the World of Work

Digitalisation and the World of Occupational Safety and Health

In recent months, Ceemet published its Digitalisation and the World of Occupational Safety and Health report. The main conclusion of the report, detailed under eight headings ranging from Artificial Intelligence to Collaborative Robots, is that we haven’t reached the limits of the benefits digitalisation has to offer.

This report was highlighted in many fora in 2022, including at EU-OSHA’s Healthy Workplaces campaign exchange of good practice event, where Ceemet is a campaign partner. Ceemet also hosted its own highly successful event, bringing together a range of policy makers to discuss this pertinent topic.

Creating digital solutions to keep workers healthy is a key priority for the MET industries and remains high on the EU political agenda. While MET employers are conscious that the digitalisation of work has created particular safety and health challenges, it has also provided a multitude of solutions. In its latest report, Ceemet zooms in on how digitalisation improves safety and health at work.

Striving for a healthier workplace

Digital technology is increasingly complementing human labour at the workplace. In eight categories, Ceemet lists what should be considered to integrate OSH and mitigate challenges:

  1. Cobots: New cobots can assist in decision-making and should spark a rethink on how risk assessments can be done best.
  2. Flexible working: OSH must evolve to provide guidance rather than trying to control all of the known risks.
  3. New forms of management: Wearables allow to monitor and provide feedback on the employees’ health. This can result in adapted decisions, improving OSH.
  4. Sensors & smart Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Smart PPE can signal when there is a problem and protects employees by correcting behaviour.
  5. Ergonomics & Exoskeletons: Good ergonomics and the use of exoskeletons can keep workers at the workplace for an extended time.
  6. Psychosocial risks: Human interface software can go some way to avoiding these risks.
  7. Artificial Intelligence: Data derived from Artificial Intelligence can help OSH professionals make better decisions. This is a further move toward evidence-based OSH and better protection.
  8. Sandboxing: Companies need legal or regulatory frameworks to test new solutions.

Digitalisation and the World of Work

In 2016 Ceemet published its first “Digitalisation and the World of Work” report. The aim was to create a starting point for debate. This to provide necessary and compelling industry evidence of the fundamental changes taking place in work organisation – from skills demand to working time – as a result of digitalisation. We wanted to kick off a discussion that was facts-based and not guided by fears.

The response from both companies and policy-makers has been very positive, with many engaging discussions that have brought important questions about the future of work life in industry to the fore.

The digital transformation is accelerating rapidly. This 2nd edition shares new insights and input, lifting up the important questions and generating solutions. It eventually helps businesses, workers and policymakers boost a human centric digitalisation process in Europe.

Getting on track

Digitalisation is no longer a novel concept. The significant potential it holds for manufacturing companies, individuals and European society as a whole is uncontested.

Digital manufacturing technologies are transforming every link in the manufacturing value chain. Digital connectivity among designers, managers, workers, consumers, and physical industrial assets has the potential to unlock enormous value and change the manufacturing landscape forever. It opens up opportunities for enhancements in a number of key areas, such as increased competitiveness, better operational efficiency and safety, enhanced productivity performance, and the analytic use of intelligent plant data to inform strategic decision-making.

This transformation, however, requires strong investment – in infrastructure, new technologies and humans.

The lack of relevant investments is putting competitiveness and, consequently, Europe’s high social standards at risk. Several of the global economic regions (and their manufacturers) that Europe competes against have embraced the digital agenda. It is time for the EU and its Member States to act.

Areas with looming issues

We dig deeper in the areas that define the way we carry out work and that are up for change coming from digitalisation.

These are:

  • Skills & Education
  • Work organisation
  • Occupational Safety & Health
  • Data & the World of Work

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