Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou outlined on Monday the challenges ahead in ensuring workplace health and safety protocols in a changing labour environment amidst the digital transformation.

He welcomed the beginning of the ‘Week of Workplace Health and Safety 2023’ as an opportunity to highlight the ministry’s strong cooperation with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-Osha).

Panayiotou emphasised that as the bloc swiftly progresses into the digital era there has been a major overhaul of the overall workplace.

That, he said, eliminates some challenges – most noticeably those linked to heavy labour – but introduces new ones, such as job insecurity, longer working hours and irregular schedules.

One example is that some workers feel they are less likely to be able to ‘switch off’ from the office, due to out of hours emails, texts and phone calls.

The minister referred to EU-Osha studies which have found that just six per cent of businesses reported not having adopted digital technology at the workplace.

Panayiotis emphasised, however, that the digital transformation has brought many improvements to the workplace which help reduce accidents and ensure overall safety and health.

For example, automated systems help reduce muscle damage and strain on labourers while improved technologies help detect chemical and gas leaks, dust levels and other monitoring systems.