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ILO Calling for Revisions to Address Physical, Psychological Problems Stemming from Changing Job World

U.N. labor agency says existing methods of protecting workers from accidents and disease are not good enough to deal with new occupational hazards arising from changes in the nature of work

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FILE - A worker programs a tablet to control SAM, a semi-automated mason, as it works on the facade of a school in the south Denver suburb of Englewood, Colorado, Feb. 27, 2018. VOA

The U.N. labor agency says existing methods of protecting workers from accidents and disease are not good enough to deal with new occupational hazards arising from changes in the nature of work. The International Labor Organization (ILO) is calling for revisions to address physical and psychological problems stemming from the changing job world.

In a new report, ILO estimates find 2.78 million workers die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases each year. It says more than 374 million people are injured or fall ill every year through work-related accidents. The cost to the world economy from work days lost is nearly four percent of global Gross Domestic Product.

The ILO’s report warns the changes and dangers posed by an increase in technology could result in a worsening of that situation. It says new measures must be implemented to deal with the psycho-social risks, work-related stress and non-communicable diseases resulting from new forms of work.

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FILE – Technicians make final inspections to vehicles on an assembly line at the Nissan Canton Assembly Plant, in Canton, Mississippi, March 19, 2018. VOA

It says digitization, artificial intelligence, robotics and automatization require new monitoring methods to protect workers.

Manal Azzi, an ILO Technical Specialist on Occupational Safety and Health, says that on the one hand, new technology is freeing workers from many dirty, dangerous jobs. On the other, she says, the jobs can raise ethical concerns.

She told VOA surveillance of workers has become more intrusive, leading them to work longer hours, a situation that may not be ethical.

“Also, different monitoring systems that workers wear. Before, you would punch in, punch out. Now, you could wear bands on your wrist that show how many hours you are actually working in a production line. And, there is even discussion of introducing implants, where workers can be continuously surveyed on their production processes,” she said.

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ILO estimates find 2.78 million workers die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases each year. Wikimedia

Azzi said a host of mental problems could be introduced by new work environments. The report also focuses on changes in demographics. It says employers have to adapt to the physical needs of older workers, who may need training to safely operate equipment.

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Another area of concern is climate change. The ILO is positive about the green jobs being introduced. But it says care must be taken to protect people from warmer temperatures that increase risks, including air pollution, heat stress, and newly emerging diseases.

In the past, creating a safer working environment focused on the prevention of risks. Authors of the report say the ILO today needs to anticipate the risks. They say new skills and information about safety and health in the workplace have to be learned at an earlier age. Before young people apply for a job, they say, they should know their rights. The power of knowledge, they say, will help protect employees in the workplace. (VOA)

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84% Indians Hope to Retain Their Jobs Despite Automation: WEF

Indians see automation, but hopeful of keeping jobs

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Although majority of Indians think their jobs would be automated in the next 10 years, 84 per cent hope to retain their jobs. (Representational Image) Pixabay

Although majority of Indians think their jobs would be automated in the next 10 years, 84 per cent hope to retain their jobs, supported by their skills, according to a report by World Economic Forum (WEF) and Ipsos.

India tops the list in terms of expectation of jobs automation, as around 71 per cent respondents expect their jobs to be automated. Saudi Arabia comes second with 56 per cent respondents expecting jobs getting automated, and in China 55 per cent respondents feel the same.

“Interestingly, 84 per cent of urban Indians polled are confident of keeping their jobs, using the skills they possess. The survey also shows across all markets, Indians are most confident, followed by the Netherlands (83 per cent) and the US (82 per cent),” the report said.

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Indians realise while automation is likely they know it will act as an enabler to improve efficiencies in deliverability. Pixabay

The markets least confident of holding onto their jobs in the face of automation, include Japan (23 per cent), South Korea (33 per cent) and Russia (50 per cent).

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Commenting on the survey, Parijat Chakraborty of Ipsos India said, “Indian job market is hierarchy driven, promotions are skills and performance-led. Indians realise while automation is likely they know it will act as an enabler to improve efficiencies in deliverability; human intellect, skill-sets and capital will still be needed to get the job done.” (IANS)