1726 From fragmentation to a holistic view of the working life: challenges, possibilities and solutions

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Abstract

The working life is changing significantly especially due to technological development. Among the most important technological drivers are digitalization, development of artificial intelligence and increasing role of the platform economy. These trends have substantial impact on the different areas of the working life. Entire industries will be under disruption, skills and competencies needed in different occupations are going to change and totally new occupations and job functions will be created. The development also has many consequences to the occupational safety and health. Improving occupational safety and health has always been based on data and cumulated knowledge. However, technological development and changing working life is going to change the utilisation of the data. Challenges as well as possibilities can be identified here. When it comes to challenges, first, the relevant data is fragmented. At the national level, different institutions, organisations and authorities have data concerning some part of the working life. Different data-sets can include information on work disability, work accidents, occupational health or well-being at work. Due to this fragmentation, the picture concerning the working life is incomplete. The second challenge is that the traditional data and classifications may be inadequate. For example, new categories of employment (e.g. platform workers) are created and traditional datasets do not provide information on their risks, work ability and wellbeing. We might even need a totally new segmentation model for the occupational safety and health. Third, we lack data concerning the new risks on occupational safety and health due to digitalization and other aspects of the changing working life.

However, possibilities can also be identified. Because of the digitalization, data is produced in almost every action we take before, during and after the working day. This data can be related for example to working hours, productivity, wellbeing, health, stress and recovery. In a way, the entire ‘digital working day’ can be measured and this information can be used to improve occupational safety and health. Sources for this type of data can be HR-systems, registers, platforms and employees’ own devices (My Data). Thus, in addition to traditional data-sources we have to use also new sources of data on occupational safety and health. It is also evident that due to digitalization we have more tools to analyse the data. When it comes to solutions, the Finnish project ‘National Working Life Indicators’, which tries to overcome these challenges and benefit these possibilities, will be demonstrated. The aim of the project is to provide near online information concerning the Finnish working life and occupational safety and health. In the project, relevant data focusing on different aspects of the working life will be collected to one data-base. Both traditional data-sources and big data will be used. Based on the data, key-indicators describing development of the Finnish working life will be identified. The data-base will include traditional data (e.g. survey-data and registers) as well as ‘big data.’ The portal makes it possible for the different stakeholders to access the data through the dashboard. The aim of the database is to support decision-making, research and improving occupational safety and health.

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