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08/05/2024

EZA’s latest magazine and podcast series discuss harnessing digital technologies for safer and healthier workplaces

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The first magazine issue of 2024 and the "We Work Europe" podcast episode 22 recently published by EZA (European Centre for Workers' Questions) explore the impact of digitalisation on occupational safety and health (OSH) and discuss the ongoing Healthy Workplaces Campaign (HWC) 2023-25 'Safe and healthy work in the digital age', which addresses the dual aspects of challenges and opportunities posed by digital technologies.

In the magazine feature, William Cockburn, EU-OSHA Executive Director, emphasises the significance of the HWC, which is the largest OSH campaign of its kind globally. He highlights that the ongoing campaign has involved four years of meticulous data gathering and comprehensive studies, all aimed at accomplishing three primary goals: raising awareness, providing resource accessibility, and mitigating risks.

The article notes that insights drawn from collected data have steered the campaign's planning, driven by strong political support and collaboration with partners at national and European levels, including longstanding allies like EZA. The Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards, additionally, aim to recognise exemplary strategies for enhancing OSH.

Mr. Cockburn further stresses the crucial aspect of technology application, stating that technology is never inherently good or bad. It hinges on its workplace design, implementation, and daily usage. Similarly, Maurizio Curtarelli, Senior Research Project Manager in the Prevention and Research Unit at EU-OSHA, challenges the notion of digitalisation as an overarching threat to workplace safety and health. The expert, for instance, illustrates how digital technologies, such as sensors and , can monitor vital signs to detect stress or burnout risks, while of repetitive tasks can alleviate monotony and facilitate engagement in creative endeavours or training. However, he acknowledges the dual nature of technology as well, noting the need to minimise adverse effects while maximising benefits. In this regard, it is crucial to place people at the forefront of digitalisation.

In tandem with the magazine article, the "We Work Europe" podcast episode, launched on 23 April, also dives into the opportunities, risks, and challenges being brought by digital technologies for workplace health and wellbeing. It offers valuable insights into this subject and the campaign, specifically, featuring perspectives from EU-OSHA Executive Director as well as Natalie Lotzmann and Patricia O'Callaghan from SAP, the European software giant and another key partner of the campaign.

Read the full article in German on EZA’s website and listen to the podcast in English on the "We Work Europe" platform.