Author Bio ▼

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
November 29, 2018

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources


EU study predicts future health and safety risks

Worker stress levels are set to rise with increased monitoring of staff, frequent job changes and management by algorithm, according to a new study.

stressA new report by EU-OSHA finds that while employees are less likely to work in traditionally hazardous environments in the future, stress levels may rise due to the digitalisation of many working practices.

The study, which looks at how occupational safety and health in Europe is set to change by 2025, warns increased monitoring of workers, an assumption of being available 24/7, frequent job changes and management by algorithm will raise stress levels amongst employees.

In addition, it also predicts increased ergonomic risks, caused by human/machine interfaces, a growth in mobile working and cyber-security risks.

“Robotics and automation, commonly in manufacturing but also in the care industry, have improved OSH through reduced exposure of workers to hazardous environments and ergonomic hazards,” the report states.

“However, there are also hazards associated with workers interacting with automated equipment, particularly collaborative robots, such as collisions, increased work pace and increased cognitive load. Improved electronic monitoring makes it possible to alert workers to the presence of hazardous substances.

“Work-related stress is widespread as a result of extensive job and financial insecurity, poor work-life balance, the lack of predictability in the grey economy, work intensification in some jobs and task deprivation in others. Intrusive workplace electronic monitoring leads to stress and overwork,” the report adds.
“Some workers may also suffer from stress due to a lack of autonomy and job variation.”

The report also warns that increased digitalisation will lead to new forms of employment status, with more workers being treated as self-employed and who could fall outside existing health and safety regulation.

In order to meet the challenges ahead, it recommends advanced workplace risk assessments, using the unpreceded opportunities offered by digital technologies, like wearables and Big Data, and a proactive worker-centred approach in the planning and implementation of digitalisation strategies.

The report – Foresight on new and emerging occupational safety and health risks associated with digitalisation by 2025 – is available on the EU-OSHA website.

Download: Stress - A Barbour Guide

The NHS defines stress as the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. A situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else, so what can you do to tackle the problem when pressure becomes stressful in the workplace?

Download this exclusive guide from Barbour EHS and get to grips with:

  • Symptoms of Stress;
  • Work Related Stress;
  • Seeking Help and Support;
  • Some Tools to Tackle Stress;
  • Mental Health at Work and the Law.

Download the guide >>

Related Topics

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
Nigel Evelyn-Dupree
1 year ago

Appreciate the EU Future Horizons Study although, it reminds me of the HSE RR 600 version 2007 identifying the 2017 Hourglass Economy of “haves and have-nots” that, sort of, haunts me today as, 30% of UK population now classified as functionally illiterate, in effect, excluded from life-long learning and then, the 19% of teenagers with existing visual disruption growing nearly three fold to 58% as DSE user operators in education or the workplace suffering the debilitating affects of eye-strain manifesting as visual Dyslexics solely due to, the “visual repetitive stress injuries” caused by over-exposure to the standard black on white… Read more »