Digitalisation, IT brings in new challenges to workforce

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With digitalisation and Information technology changing the world of the workforce and the world going through a fourth industrial revolution, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said that the changes in the work pattern has revolutionised the work culture as well as brought in more challenges.

The ILO in its new report – Safety and Health at the Heart of the Future of Work – Building on 100 Years of Experience- says that the developments and changes in work have a great impact on the safety, working conditions and health of the workforce the world over.

With the development of information technology, the workforce has been seeing a drastic change, the report said. The report also terms the workforce driven by IT as the fourth industrial revolution.

The report says that one of the advantages of the new working system related to digitalisation is that the balance between work and life has improved because of telework. This has also resulted in stress reduction. Moreover, the advent of IT and digitalisation has also reduced the risk of people working in a hazardous environment. There is also a lower risk of exposure to hazards and reduce the need for work-related travel.

With respect to health, the new age work helps in monitoring physiology. The report points out that the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) measures would increase in the world of digitalisation work.

However, the new world of work also has greater challenges. One of the greatest challenges is with respect to the psychological factor. With the new tele work culture, a worker is supposed to be available all the time, which could destabilise the balance of work and life. With tele work, one would be working in isolation and have no interaction with his colleagues. Other psychological issues are insecurity in job, performance monitoring, cyberbullying, overload and technostress, the report said.

The report also points to an increase in ergonomic risk. With telework, the report says that there is an increased risk of health issues such as obesity, lifestyle diseases, and other diseases. It also says that there is greater exposure to the electromagnetic field.

With the world moving towards Nanotechnology, the ILO report says that the health hazards in respect to this are only being explored. The ILO has quoted a report of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work that has come up with health effects of nanomaterials. It has been reported that exposure to nanomaterials can increase the risk of lung issues and also can harm other organs such as liver, kidney, and brain.

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