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IOSH's report highlights workers' uncertain future

54% felt they had inadequate job security. (Image source: Canva)


IOSH’s report, Towards a safe and healthy future of work, highlights the critical evidence concerning the effects of climate change on OSH, aiming to draw attention to the significant global health risks faced by workers.

The report focuses on several key issues, including excessive heat, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, extreme weather events, workplace air pollution, vector-borne diseases, and the use of agrochemicals. These issues represent significant threats to the safety and health of workers worldwide, underscoring the urgent need for effective measures to address climate-related risks in the workplace.

Simultaneously, IOSH is unveiling the findings of a survey conducted among platform workers in the gig economy. Over half of the respondents express struggles with their fluctuating income, leading to financial difficulties, while their irregular work schedules pose challenges in caring for dependents or taking breaks.

The survey outcomes further reveal that 40% of platform workers report experiencing stress attributable to their work over the past year, with a third citing feelings of fatigue or exhaustion.

Inquiring into the future

The report, jointly released with sustainable development specialists Arup, examines the evolving landscape of work in the upcoming years. Given an estimated 7,500 daily fatalities resulting from unsafe or unhealthy work conditions, the report presents various hypothetical scenarios aimed at urging governments, businesses, and the health and safety sector, represented by IOSH, to take action ensuring comprehensive protection for individuals both within and beyond the workplace.

The emergence of the gig economy, encompassing platform-based roles ranging from delivery services to freelance project assignments, is underscored. The report raises the possibility of gig work surpassing traditional employment as the primary source of income, potentially diminishing social safeguards for workers. Additionally, it critiques existing primary legislation, rooted in conventional employment models, for failing to adequately address the numerous health and safety risks inherent in gig work.

Out of the 1,000 platform workers surveyed by Opinium, 58% reported experiencing unpredictable income due to their online platform employment, leading to challenges in covering expenses. Likewise, an equal proportion expressed difficulties in caring for dependents, such as children and elderly relatives. Additionally, 63% noted that their work arrangements hindered their ability to take holidays, while 54% felt they had inadequate job security.

The recent report raises concerns about the potential health, safety, and well-being risks posed by technological advancements. It also explores the possibility of monitoring devices alerting employers to workers' health conditions before they become aware of them.

James Pomeroy CMIOSH, global health and safety director at Arup, said, “Towards a safe and healthy future of work offers landmark guidance regarding how we can better navigate the landscape we operate in, prioritising risk mitigation by further integrating technologies."