(ORDO NEWS) — As a result of robotization of production, factory workers receive fewer industrial injuries, but there are also negative consequences.
It turned out that as a result of the introduction of robots, workers face a number of psychological problems and experience problems with alcohol.
This disappointing conclusion was reached by a group of researchers from the Universities of Pittsburgh and Princeton, the Free University of Berlin and the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies (Germany).
Scientists note that so far very little is known about the impact of robots on human physical and mental health.
On the one hand, they can take on some of the most strenuous, physically intense and risky tasks, reducing the risk to workers.
On the other hand, job competition increases the pressure on people who fear losing their jobs or having to retrain.
More about the study
Researchers analyzed data on work-related injuries suffered by American workers: through automation, the injury rate was reduced by 1.2 cases per hundred workers per year.
At the same time, in regions where work more often worked side by side with a person, scientists found an increase in deaths from drugs and alcohol – plus 37.8 cases per 100 thousand people annually. There has also been a slight rise in suicides and referrals due to mental health problems.
Then, after studying the impact of robotics on workers in Germany, the researchers came to a strange conclusion: in this country, employees of enterprises did not experience a detrimental effect on the psyche and well-being due to the introduction of robots.
Meanwhile, the number of injuries there has decreased by five percent, and the physical load at work has decreased by four percent.
Germany has stricter employment protection laws. In both cases, the jobs had a positive effect on workers’ physical health, reducing injuries and work-related disability.
But in an environment where workers were less protected, job competition correlated with mental health problems, the scientists explain.
As a result, the authors of the work concluded that robotization and automation of production, despite all the advantages, can have a bad effect on the psyche and well-being of workers. And government labor market institutions must take responsibility to keep people safe.
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