This HesaMag issue investigates the impact of new technologies on working conditions and workers’ health and safety in industrial sectors, as well as in intellectual professions. It assesses the consequences of the “digital wave” on workers’ health and safety, in areas where they face psychosocial risks, such as technostress, mental fatigue, burnout, musculoskeletal disorders, and other work-related injuries.

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Editorial - Grenfell Tower, a crime

On 14 June, a 24-floor tower block caught fire in upmarket Kensington at the foot of Notting Hill in London. The current – still uncertain – death toll stands at 80. Five months after the tragedy, hundreds of its former residents are having to live in precarious conditions. The fire’s material causes are known. Started by a faulty fridge, it... Find out more

Fabienne Scandella

Is Europe heading towards the eclipse of 'psychosocial risks' at work?

At a time when no one can dispute the growing importance of 'psychosocial risks' and when the very use of this expression for these risks is becoming routine, in European circles a semantic shift towards the more inclusive topic of mental health is developing and solidifying. Under the guise of widening the debate, the expression “psychosocial... Find out more

Toeing the line. Working conditions in digital environments

Over the course of the last two decades, new technologies have gradually shaped a 'new world of work'. These new working environments are confronting workers and their organisations with a wide range of challenges. Under the joint effect of a new generation of digital technologies and a higher pace of organisational change in companies, working... Find out more

Denis Grégoire

Delivering for FoodTech: at your own risk

You now see them everywhere in the city. Food takeaway couriers have taken possession of city roads. Within less than five years, the digital platforms have amassed whole battalions of young riders. But practised under such conditions, is riding really that good for your health? The young man’s face is full of thick scars, the result of an accident... Find out more

Pien Heuts

DHL experiments with augmented reality

The logistics services provider DHL is a pioneer in innovative developments in the Netherlands. Employees at two distribution centres have volunteered to take part in a trial of vision picking with smartglasses. Productivity is increasing, employees are satisfied. The Works Council is keeping a close watch. Frank Pot, Professor of Social Innovation... Find out more

Denis Baudier

Exoskeletons: taking off the strain?

Seen as somewhat futuristic, there is a certain amount of hype about (powered) exoskeletons in the media. On paper, these devices are seen as a way of making strenuous or repetitive tasks easier for their users. But is that really the case? What side effects do they have? A spotlight on these new-style devices. In the lobby of this splendid... Find out more

Barbara Matejčić

In Veles, meeting the producers of fake news

In Veles, a run-down city in Macedonia, a discrete but prosperous sector is booming – the fake news industry. Hitting the headlines during the US elections, the industry is in the hands of young people with in-depth knowledge of the social media and their followers. Without any prospects of finding decently paid work, they have occupied this niche... Find out more

Michael ‘Six’ Silberman, Ellie Harmon, Lilly Irani, ...

Crowd work and the 'on-demand' economy

Ten years ago, university researchers launched a website in the United States giving digital platform workers access to information on the clients of these platforms, and therefore the opportunity to denounce those least respectful of their rights. With the support of trade unions, the project was adopted in Germany in 2015. Digital labor platforms... Find out more

Elsa Dorey, Ariane Puccini

Site remediation at the expense of workers’ health

After 50 years, the Lacq gas field in South-West France has run dry. Before quitting the industrial basin, its operator, Total, is legally obliged to remediate the soil there. Each time a plot of land is sold, subcontracting companies excavate tonnes of polluted soil steeped with toxic substances. Working under pressure, a number of these companies... Find out more

Desai Shan

Chinese survivors’ compensation claims following workplace deaths at sea

The families of Chinese seafarers who die at sea face various challenges from labour-supplying companies, shipowners and their liability insurers. The fragmented and transnational nature of employment relationships increases the difficulties that victims’ families have to face, which give overseas employers more power to control the claim. Although... Find out more

A kaleidoscope of work

Forty-four testimonials covering so many different situations. Aicha is a teacher in a youth centre; Bruno is doing research in neuroscience; Vanessa, now unemployed, worked as a quality controller for more than fifteen years in a brake factory before it was closed down by its German management; Nathan is now a social worker at a radio station... Find out more

A worker’s survival kit: dope!

At the dawn of capitalism on the American continent, the Spanish crown adopted laws with an ambivalent attitude towards coca, a drug in use for thousands of years among the native population. All use associated with religious cults was banned and severely persecuted by the Inquisition, while the consumption of coca – also used as a means of payment... Find out more

Table of contents

The future of work in the digital era