Is your Health and Safety provision ready for new technology?

A new report by the British Safety Council (BSC) has examined health and safety risks and is urging employers to assess and improve their and their employees’ understanding of the dangers of new technologies and the future skills required for work.

The report emphasises the need for employers to understand and mitigate against the changing risks of the future workplace. The BSC called for the regulatory systems that protect modern workers to be updated to mitigate risks arising from future technology, as machines and employees are expected to work together more.

It also raised the question of where responsibility and liability lie when automation at work goes wrong. The BSC said employers and researchers should share best practice around quality job design to help create and retain positive employee and employer relationships as the shift away from traditional working practices continues.
Another risk is employee stress and mental ill-health. Working alongside technology such as intelligent machines and robots, for instance, could add to those pressures as they outperform humans and require new skills. To counteract this, the BSC recommended that employers introduce specialist training to help employees gain skills to build their resilience to new technologies.

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