AI safety questioned
Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining a foothold in the OHS world.
Australian companies are offering AI-equipped cameras to check for health and safety breaches in the workplace, including appropriate wearing of PPE and other clothing, or two identify spills and hazards.
But the growing practice has raised concerns about workplace surveillance, with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) saying it has received enquiries and complaints about the use of technology to monitor workplace behaviour.
One local company that uses cameras to monitor facilities says it blurs the faces of individuals to prevent retaliation and protect the privacy of workers, and when customers have asked for faces to be unblurred, the company would not provide that information.
But the technology also raises questions about consent, safety culture, and employer responsibility in the case of AI mistakes.
The Privacy Act 1988 - which is currently being reviewed by the federal government - does not specifically address workplace surveillance, but it does require employers to give notice if they intend to collect personal information.
Experts have warned that the lack of more specific regulation means current laws are open to abuse and misuse.
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