There is a wide range of technologies that could reduce accidents and prevent ill health in the workplace. However, many employees are reported unhappy with proposals to introduce more monitoring technology to protect them.
A survey by YouGov found that only 45% of people are happy to share information from wearable devices, and 69% said that sharing information could lead to discrimination by employees. Workers are fine with wearing protective workwear because they see an obvious need for them in hazardous conditions, but they are not so keen on using workwear that has monitoring technology built into it.
There is a number of ways that a business can monitor employees and their use can be justified on health and safety grounds. Wristbands can be worn by all employees that automatically check workers in when they enter a site and check them out as they leave. In case of a fire, the business knows exactly how many employees are in the workplace.
Artificial intelligent systems use cameras and software to detect if employees are wearing the correct PPE (personal protective equipment). A worker entering a hazardous area without wearing a hard hat or gloves could find access restricted.
For some, monitoring equipment is an invasion of privacy. In the construction industry, fatal accidents have risen and non-fatal accidents in all industries have fallen (HSE); but there are still nearly three million accidents each year. Those in favour of more monitoring argue that it is necessary to save lives and prevent injuries.