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OSH systems in the digital world of work

Objectives, challenges and the need for adaptation

Digitalisation poses a challenge for occupational safety and health (OSH): location- and time-flexible working is making working processes more opaque. Work processes are increasingly determined by digital technologies, making occupational safety and health more dynamic and complex.

Close-up of an employee with a smart helmet © Uwe Völkner, Fotoagentur FOX

Digitalisation is a powerful driver of change in the world of work. Today's information technologies enable a wide variety of flexible forms of work in terms of time and location. Moreover, digital technologies are also able to control parts of work processes independently and in real time. Technical processes are completing tasks and making decisions that were previously the responsibility of people.

The use of technology has a direct impact on the organisation of the work. On the one hand, this has consequences for companies and employed persons - in terms of new requirements and stress, for instance. On the other hand, the conditions under which the instruments and measures of occupational safety are expected to function are also changing.

Approach

In this programme component, a systematic consideration of both the technical and organisational occupational health and safety is to take place. The focus is on the interface between occupational health and safety and product safety. Product safety ensures that safe and healthy products and work equipment are placed on the market, making this an essential prerequisite for safety and health in the world of work.

The objective is to identify challenges and adaptation requirements for the system of occupational safety and health. The findings of the programme components on the "Monitoring the digital world of work" and "Tasks in times of digital change" will also be taken into account. In this respect, the following questions will be considered:

  • How is digitalisation affecting technical and organisational occupational safety and health? Is this associated with new chances for occupational safety and health?
  • What requirements must an occupational safety and health system fulfil in the digital world of work?
  • How can existing rule-based and expert-based systems be improved? How can processes relevant to occupational safety and health be integrated at an early stage? What role does the individual freedom of employed persons to take action and make their own decisions on safety issues play here?
  • Which functions, stakeholders, processes and instruments can help to make the digital world of work human-centred? What might an effective occupational safety and health system for the digital world of work look like?

To answer these questions, literature reviews as well as explorative and hypothesis-based approaches will be used. Findings from BAuA projects on the topic of digitalisation that are both ongoing or completed will also be included in the analyses. Workshops and panel discussions will be used in order to draw on the experience of experts in the areas of technology, work and organisational design.

Publications

Research projects

Project numberF 2411 StatusCompleted Project (Effective) occupational safety and health structures in the digital world. Analysis of the current situation and forecast options

Find out more : (Effective) occupational safety and health structures in the digital world. Analysis of the current situation and forecast options …

Project numberF 2474 StatusOngoing Project Requirements for safety technology in context of Industry 4.0

Find out more : Requirements for safety technology in context of Industry 4.0 …

Project numberF 2432 StatusOngoing Project Legal framework for making available autonomous and AI systems

Find out more : Legal framework for making available autonomous and AI systems …

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