Has Technology made Workplaces Safer?

Over the past few decades, technology has infiltrated the workplace in a number of different places. Some of the points of entry are obvious, while others are a little more subtle. The introduction of the right tech has substantially improved productivity and efficiency, but it’s also had a bearing on worker safety.

How Technology has Benefited Workers

Online platforms like Zoom and Google Drive has made it possible for workers to collaborate with one another from distance and made possible the modern revolution in remote working.

It’s pushed offices towards a more relaxed, permissive culture, and removed the need for workers to live near to where they work. Some kinds of work would be completely impossible without the involvement of technology; Uber and Deliveroo and other kinds of gig-economy work, for example, would not be possible.

Technology and Health and Safety

So, where does safety fit into all of this? There are a number of innovations that might help workers to avoid accidents.

Increasingly, dangerous jobs are being done with the aid of machines. Drone technology in warehousing has removed the need for human beings to lift heavy loads manually, or to work at height. This will ultimately drive down absenteeism, and reduce the number of personal injury claims issued by workers.

Artificial intelligences are also being used to ensure safe working practices, with non-compliance being identified and rooted out. For example, workers who aren’t wearing the appropriate PPE might be forbidden from operating certain dangerous pieces of equipment. We should also consider the risk shouldered by workers who are working in isolation.

If they don’t have a means of alerting colleagues to their plight, then they might conceivably be left in an unfortunate predicament for a long time. Panic alarms and lone-worker apps provide a simple, technological means of avoiding this. We should also mention self-driving vehicles. While the full self-driving vehicle has not yet arrived, many of the elements are being gradually phased into new models.

For example, a new car might be able to automatically maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front, or to nudge itself back into lane in the event of a drift.

Pros and Cons of Technology

One of the more obvious downsides of rapid technological advancement is the effect that it has on the labour market. When driverless trucks become more economically viable than human-operated ones, we’re sure to see a large number of people suddenly made unemployed. There are also unique vulnerabilities created by technology, which businesses need to anticipate and account for.

For example, phishing attacks and malware might lead valuable data to be compromised, which can expose business to legal risk.