Identifying emerging risks and taking preventive action against them
Today's working environment is the result of an ongoing process of change with no foreseeable end. The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) observes these developments and analyses emerging changes in order to assess any impacts on the safety and health of workers in a timely manner.
© Uwe Völkner, Fotoagentur FOX
It has always been a challenge for the field of occupational safety and health to expose the potential risks of new technologies or materials to workers in a timely manner and to develop protective measures. However, the speed, intensity and complexity of transformations currently taking place in the working environment can rightly be described as exceptional.
Our working society stands on the threshold of a massive revolution in production and working conditions, which is referred to as "Industry 4.0". One of the key drivers of this development is the digitalisation of work in a growing number of economic sectors. This is changing the allocation of roles between humans and machines, creating new safety problems and presenting workers with new requirements in terms of flexibility. This results in risks to, among other things, the mental health of workers.
In addition, the "changing world of work" also refers to a change in the employment structure at businesses. Workforces are becoming more diverse and, as a result of demographic change, above all older.