Through its Centre for Work Health and Safety, the NSW Government’s Changing World of Work Program has allocated $660,000 to four research partners to explore key emerging risks in health and safety, to help prepare for future workplace issues. Out of 58 applicants, proposals from Edith Cowan University (ECU), the University of Adelaide, Charles Sturt University (CSU) and a CSU PhD candidate, Reverend Mark Layson, have been selected as winners.
The selected research projects will focus on the increased use and ethical considerations of artificial intelligence (AI) in workplaces, the mental health concerns of flexible and remote working, and mitigating psychological harms for our frontline emergency service employees. NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the findings of these projects will help develop the best policies to mitigate these risks in the short and longer term.
“The four areas we’ve chosen are incredibly important and have the potential to transform the workplace and make it healthier, safer and more sustainable for everyone,” Anderson said. “We anticipate some great outcomes from these projects and look forward to seeing how they support the NSW workforce for generations to come.”
The first study, by ECU, will examine the psychosocial risks of flexible, remote and telecommuting work arrangements. The research project is divided into three phases; the first involves a broad survey of flexible workers, collecting data concerning their exposure to psychological risks. The second phase will involve a qualitative investigation via interviewing a sample of 35 flexible workers from different organisations with varying demographic profiles. The third phase involves a co-design activity where a mixed group of stakeholders will develop guidelines to help workers adjust to new work arrangements.
The second study, conducted by the University of Adelaide, will focus on the ethical deployment of AI in the workplace, and examine the extent to which its development and deployment considers the impact on workers’ wellbeing.
The third study, by CSU, aims to identify and reduce the psychological barriers to accepting advice from ‘thinking machines’, such as AI and machine learning. The fourth study, from a CSU PhD candidate, will work with first responder organisations to investigate how psychological injury can be reduced after workers have been exposed to traumatic events.
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