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How technology has changed health and safety in the workplace

ByEmily

Mar 21, 2018

Businesses and organisations across Britain are at risk of substantial penalties if they aren’t compliant with the health and safety legislations laid out by the British Government. With only a recent shift in focus for employee safety within the workplace, the legislation states that employers have a duty of care to ensure that employees are not at risk of any harm when at work.

But how are employers using technology to stay within the law? We’ve teamed up with Projected Image to take a look at the history of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, how businesses can implement advanced technology and investigate whether these additions have reduced risk of employee injury/fatalities in the workplace.

History of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

To have a proper understanding of how important the Health and Safety at Work Act is, we’ve briefly discussed how the bill was passed in parliament:

It was Barbara Castle who first raised the issue of employee safety here in Britain. Serving as Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity under Harold Wilson’s Labour Government, Barbara introduced an Employed Persons (Health and Safety) Bill in 1970 which received some sort of backlash as many feared that it did not discuss the fundamental issues of workplace safety and was not passed.

But she was the one who got the conversation going. Within the same year, the United States passed a similar law called the Occupational Safety and Health Act changing the way health and safety in the workplace was viewed across the pond.

This initiated an inquiry by Lord Robens named The Robens Report, which was published in 1972 —dismissing the work of Barbara Castle years before. Labour went out and the Conservatives came in, creating their own bill which was also pushed back by the House of Lords.

When Labour returned to administrate Britain in 1974, they succeeded in passing a health and safety bill that year which became known as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA).

Technology in the workplace

With technology advancing at a rapid rate, there are countless pieces of technology that are helping shape the future for workplace safety — from wearable technology to projected safety signs.

However, it’s important to understand that according to a poll conducted by YouGov, only 45% said that they would feel comfortable sharing personal information with wearable devices. 69% said that they wouldn’t feel comfortable due to fear of discrimination from their employer — we expect that this figure to lower as the world conforms to more digital opportunities.

Check-in Technology

Monitoring employees is something that has always taken a lot of unnecessary time away from employers, ensuring that workers are in the right place at the right time. Whether this is to keep a specific number on the amount of people who are in a workspace or keeping count for potential fire drills. The StaySafe Business wristband includes many features such as a discreet panic button for workers who are faced with a difficult situation, a ‘man down’ alert when the button detects a fall or impact and more. However, this can also come in the form of an app depending on company budget.

Projected Safety Signs

More businesses are turning to projected safety signs to be more cost effective. Repainting caution lines and other safety essentials can be quite an expensive job — causing a lot business downtime. Through purchasing a projector and a gobo outlines such as caution lines and stop signs, business premises are able to illuminate these in the appropriate places at all times. A revolutionary movement in the world of workplace safety.

Injuries and fatalities in the workplace over time

In recent years, Britain has placed a huge focus on health and safety within the workplace. With the number of injuries falling by an estimated 85% since 1974, we aim to create an in-depth article that looks at how technology has influenced safety in the workplace and use historical data to back up our claims.

From this, we will be able to discuss safety signage and how this can be projected in factories, office spaces and other populated locations to create a risk-free working environment for employees. This will include items that are readily available through Projected Image, including: caution lines, stop signs and more.

By Emily