Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

White House asks for public input on worker tracking technologies

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Original article published by Safety+Health
Office-of-Science-and-Technology-Policy.jpg
Photo: The White House

Washington — Does your employer monitor you on the job, or are you an employer who tracks your workers? If so, the White House wants to hear from you.

To expand its knowledge about the design, deployment, prevalence and impacts of workplace tracking technologies, and to better understand the potential risks to workers, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy plans to publish a public Request for Information to learn about how employers surveil, monitor, evaluate and monitor workers.

Nurses often wear radio-frequency identification badges that track their location and proximity to other workers and patients; ride-share and delivery drivers have their speed, location and acceleration monitored; long-haul truck drivers’ eye movements are monitored and locations are tracked; and warehouse packers and stockers use scanners that track their pace of work.

“While these technologies can benefit both workers and employers in some cases, they can also create serious risks to workers,” Deirdre Mulligan, deputy U.S. chief technology officer for policy at OSTP, and Jenny Yang, deputy assistant to the president for racial justice and equity at the Domestic Policy Council, write in a May 1 blog post. “The constant tracking of performance can push workers to move too fast on the job, posing risks to their safety and mental health.”

OSTP is particularly interested in hearing about:

  • Workers’ firsthand experiences with surveillance technologies.
  • How employers, technology developers and vendors create, sell and use these technologies.
  • Best practices for mitigating risks to workers.
  • Relevant data and research on the topic.
  • Ideas on how the federal government should respond to relevant risks and opportunities.

The RFI includes five questions for employers and workers to answer, along with 47 subparts of those questions.

Workers and employers are encouraged to share their thoughts by 5 p.m. Eastern on June 15 via email at workersurveillance@ostp.eop.gov or at Regulations.gov.


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