Category: Future of Work and OSH

The Role of Robotics in the Future of Work

  NIOSH established the Future of Work Initiative in response to rapid changes in the workplace, work, and workforce. The Initiative seeks to prompt research and practical approaches to address future occupational safety and health concerns. Increased use and rapid technologic advances in robotics fits within the sphere of changes in how work will increasingly Read More >

Posted on by Dawn N. Castillo, MPH; Jacob L. Carr, PhD; W. Allen Robison, PhD1 Comment

Work Flexibility and Worker Well-being: Evidence from the United States

  Work flexibility can have positive and negative consequences for workers and their families, employers, and society overall. [1,2] For workers, it is increasingly recognized as an essential determinant of their well-being. Workers seek flexibility to address their personal and family needs, including childcare, eldercare, schooling, and healthcare. Flexibility in terms of work location and Read More >

Posted on by Tapas K Ray, PhD, and Regina Pana-Cryan, PhD5 Comments

The Role of Technological Job Displacement in the Future of Work

The future of work holds many possibilities for technological advancements, which may alter the number, quality, and stability of jobs; create new jobs that vary in skill and wage level; and fundamentally change entire industries. Such developments, including digitalization, robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced computing, have the potential to lead to automation of unsafe tasks Read More >

Posted on by Chia-Chia Chang, MPH, MBA; Sara L. Tamers, PhD, MPH; and Naomi Swanson, PhD1 Comment

Exploring the Future of Worker Health and Safety in the Post-Pandemic World

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on work. The short-term consequences of the pandemic, including new safety requirements at work, mandatory remote work arrangements, reduced working hours, and even unplanned furloughs or lost jobs, were unexpected and severe for many workers around the world [1-3]. Though the economy is now showing signs of recovery, experts Read More >

Posted on by Sarah A Felknor, MS, DrPH; Jessica MK Streit, MS, PhD, CHES®; and Nicole T Edwards, MS3 Comments

The Role of Demographics in the Future of Work

  The future of work continues to be shaped by ongoing changes in the workplace, work, and workforce. Shifting workforce demographics will present both opportunities and challenges for occupational safety and health (OSH). A central challenge will be ensuring the equitable distribution of work-related benefits and risks that accompany these transformations. To meet this challenge, Read More >

Posted on by Laura Syron, PhD, MPH; Marie-Anne S. Rosemberg, PhD, MN, RN, FAAOHN; Michael A Flynn, MA; Jacqueline Sivén, PhD, MA, MPH; Andrea Steege, PhD, MPH; Sara L. Tamers, PhD, MPH2 Comments

Bringing Strategic Foresight to OSH

How do we effectively plan for the future of occupational safety and health (OSH) when numerous social, technological, economic, environmental, and political trends are influencing work, the workplace, and the workforce? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and others in the OSH field are working to ensure we are ready to address Read More >

Posted on by Jessica MK Streit, PhD, CHES®; Sarah A Felknor, MS, DrPH; Nicole T Edwards, MS; and John Howard, MDLeave a comment

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Future of Work

As discussed in a previous NIOSH Science Blog, artificial intelligence (AI) is in the process of transforming almost all aspects of society. Whether using an application to determine the best route to drive, receiving recommendations from Netflix on what to watch, or using face detection to logon to a personal smartphone, the use of AI Read More >

Posted on by Jay Vietas, PhD, CIH, CSP4 Comments

Envisioning the Future of Construction: Challenges and Opportunities for Occupational Safety and Health

Introduction Today’s construction industry is quite different than what existed just a few decades ago. These days, it is much less common to see workers hauling around rolls of hand drawn blueprints, punching numbers into printing calculators, or fiddling with slide rules. Records and plans are now created and stored digitally; workers use new, more Read More >

Posted on by Melissa Edmondson, MS, CIH, CPH, and Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP3 Comments

The Role of Organizational Design in the Future of Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted our society and economy. Every day, employers and workers find themselves encountering unforeseen challenges, finding novel ways of working, and adapting to a “new normal.” In a time when much is unknown, one thing is clear: the future of work is already here. As it unfolds, the future of Read More >

Posted on by Sara L. Tamers, PhD, MPH; Jessica M.K. Streit, PhD, CHES®; Naomi Swanson, PhD; and Leslie Hammer, PhD6 Comments

Rising to the Challenges and Opportunities Presented by the Future of Work: NIOSH Introduces its Future of Work Initiative

The future of work is influenced by many changes to workplace, work, and workforce factors such as organizational design, work arrangements, technological job displacement, artificial intelligence, robotics, technologies, demographics, economic security, and skills. Advances in the future of work offer many opportunities, but they also create challenges for the workplace and work, with consequences for the Read More >

Posted on by Sara L. Tamers, PhD, MPH and John Howard, MDLeave a comment

An Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health

  Work is changing. Technology, globalization, shifts in demographics, and other economic and political forces create new challenges for workers, employers, and those who work to protect them. In a recent commentary in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health we suggest that the field of occupational safety and health (OSH) must also Read More >

Posted on by Paul Schulte, PhD, and Sarah A. Felknor, MS, DrPH6 Comments

Industrial Exoskeletons

Exoskeletons used in the workplace are referred to as “industrial exoskeletons.” Their purpose is to augment, amplify, or reinforce the performance of a worker’s existing body components—primarily the lower back and the upper extremity (arms and shoulders). Despite a lack of research, manufacturers of these devices claim productivity gains, work quality improvements, and a reduction Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; Vladimir Murashov, PhD; Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE; and Jack Lu, PhD, CPE7 Comments

Preparing Your Fleet for Automated Vehicles

Many of us already drive personal or company vehicles with automated features such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. While automation clearly improves safety, it also presents new issues for safety professionals. Companies need to integrate policies on vehicles with automated features into their current fleet safety management systems. They also need to Read More >

Posted on by Stephanie Pratt, PhD, and Rebecca Olsavsky, MS12 Comments

Labor Day 2019 Message: Future of Work and Total Worker Health

At NIOSH, we spend every day focused on improving the safety and health of the U.S. workforce who maintain and propel this country forward. This year’s 125th anniversary of Labor Day gives us the opportunity as a Nation to celebrate and appreciate all workers for their contribution to this country’s prosperity, strength and well-being. This Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD6 Comments

Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the Future of Work

What does Artificial Intelligence (AI) have to do with workplace safety and health? NIOSH has been at the forefront of workplace safety and robotics, creating the Center for Occupational Robotics Research (CORR) and posting blogs such as A Robot May Not Injure a Worker: Working safely with robots. However, much remains unknown regarding the related Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD52 Comments

Towards a Biosocial Approach to Occupational Safety and Health

The integration of the social determinants of health paradigm by occupational and public health researchers and institutions is leading to a recognition of the need for a more holistic and nuanced perspective on work and its impact on population health (Ahonen et al 2018; Schulte and Vainio, 2010; WHO 2008). Fundamental to this transformation is Read More >

Posted on by Michael Flynn, MA3 Comments

Can Drones Make Construction Safer?

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) often called drones are increasingly used for military, recreational, public, and commercial purposes. UAVs have the potential to prevent injury and death in the construction industry where nearly 1,000 workers died in 2015. Advancements in UAV technology could help reduce construction-related injury and death from falls, toxic chemical exposures, electrical hazards, Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD; Vladimir Murashov, PhD; and Christine Branche, PhD, FACE33 Comments

Exoskeletons in Construction: Will they reduce or create hazards?

Wearable exoskeleton devices can reduce some of the mechanical stress of manual labor (1). These wearable machines can be powered by electricity or by human motion, and they can be as large as a space suit or as small as a glove. (1; 2) They are used to amplify or transform worker movements, improve biomechanics Read More >

Posted on by Alissa Zingman, MD; G. Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Brian D. Lowe, PhD, CPE; Christine M. Branche, Ph.D., FACE; 4 Comments

Wearable Sensors: An Ethical Framework for Decision-Making

Wearable sensors are all the rage. They give us information about our health, fitness, productivity and safety.  However, downsides to this technology are accuracy and security of the data and challenges to personal privacy. How wearable technology is used in occupational safety and health research and practice is evolving.  Wearable sensors can detect and alert Read More >

Posted on by Angela Morley, JD, MPH; Gayle DeBord, PhD; and Mark D. Hoover, PhD, CHP, CIH 10 Comments

Nonstandard Work Arrangements

Who is looking out for workers in nonstandard work arrangements? As the prevalence of nonstandard work arrangements (such as temporary agency, contract, and “gig” arrangements) rises, so do concerns about workplace safety and health among this workforce. A recent article, “Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety” published in the American Journal of Industrial Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD17 Comments