Staying Safe During Disruptive Times

The explosion of new technology has created fascinating new areas of research for engineers and has occurred at the same time as the widening modernization of many developing economies. The downside to this is fresh, unaddressed health and safety concerns; the most recent statistics show that 1,660 people lost their lives working in engineering professions between 2013 and 2016. Tackling emerging threats will be key to preserving the safety of engineers.

For both newly qualified graduates without on-the-job experience and those with years in the job, understanding health and safety takes a few steps. Firstly, assessing the current state and what’s already in place. Secondly, looking at where the engineering industry is turning and making use of new technology.

Staying Safe During Disruptive Times

What protection you can expect

In principle, health and safety is a secure area in India, for engineers and every other profession. According to a report by Silicon India, the Indian authorities have ratified over 41 workplace H&S charters to ensure the legislative framework is in place to protect workers. Generally speaking, this is well applied, as the courts offer protection to workers raising lawsuits; a 2017 landmark case in the Mumbai Times reported on how one naval engineer had received compensation owing to his reduced quality of life following an accident, despite his earnings continuing to rise. This shows that the courts apply discretion not just to earnings, taking a whole-view approach to health and safety. This is a good foundation for engineers.

Developing technology and staying safe

It’s heartening to realize that national legislation and the courts are supportive of workers, but the ideal situation is one where accidents are prevented before they happen. With expanding infrastructure and transformative technology, this can be easier said than done. However, where technology creates issues, it also provides.

Increasingly, health and safety are being managed with AI. Already, AI technologies have received government attention, with the UK government issuing a £300,000 grant, and Entrepreneur remarking on how AI can benefit workspaces. For engineers and those in the profession, this is great news – specifically, hazardous environments can be managed through AI risk management, and more thorough assessments made.

Between the active protection being offered by the law and the impact of artificial intelligence on risk assessment, the workplace should become safer for engineers despite the uncertainty that new technology and political decisions create. Staying safe will require engineers to maintain awareness of changes and react accordingly. Doing so will help engineering industries to develop new and exciting new technologies without sacrificing safety.