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Overview of Policies, Research and Practices in Relation to Advanced Robotics and AI-based Systems for Automation of Tasks and Occupational Safety and Health

Project number: F 2526 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Ongoing Project Planned end: 2023-04-30

Description:

Digitalisation is changing the working environment and the tasks employees perform. Advanced robotics, and smart information and communications technologies (ICT) are driving this continuous process of transformation forward.

Today, modern robotic systems are already making close forms of human-machine collaboration possible and supporting workers in physically demanding jobs. (Smart) ICT is frequently deployed for cognitive tasks. For these purposes, both robotic systems and smart ICT often use complex algorithms and elements of artificial intelligence (AI). The question is what consequences working with AI-based systems can have for employees’ safety and health. At the same time, it is of interest to look at the legislation, strategies, and recommendations that have previously been adopted, or are planned, at the European and national levels to protect employees’ safety and health when they work with AI-based systems. This project is intended to survey the current state of play in European rule-making, research, and practice and provide a detailed overview of the situation.

The project is being conducted in three phases. The first work package will summarise the latest advances in research. This is being done by carrying out structured literature reviews, a survey of the national "focal points" that represent the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), and interviews with experts. The second work package will concentrate on field research into the implementation and impact of AI-based technologies such as advanced robotic systems and smart ICT in the workplace. The last work package will involve organising, holding, and evaluating a high-level seminar.

The project’s findings will directly inform EU-OSHA’s work in this field. The aim is to explore the opportunities and risks that exist, as well as the kinds of action that need to be taken by, and should be recommended to, occupational safety and health actors from a European perspective.

The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) is collaborating on this project with the University of Leicester and Milieu Consulting SRL. Apart from gathering and processing data, BAuA is also responsible for coordinating the joint activities that are undertaken.

The project is being sponsored by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

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