The Internet of Things can revolutionize occupational health, but also poses some risks due to a possible excessive collection of personal data. The project examines the opportunities and risks of these new applications and develops recommendations for a safe and ethical use.

Lay summary

Work-related illnesses have reached alarming levels in modern societies, which is why companies are increasingly considering unconventional ways of promoting health at work. It is now possible, for example, to equip employees or the workplace with new types of aids such as intelligent clothing, watches or tools to identify potential health risks such as chronic overwork or unhealthy posture. These solutions, known collectively as the "Internet of Things", not only offer benefits to employees, but also pose risks, as very personal data is collected to make these services work. The project is dedicated to identifying technical, legal, and ethical risks in order to develop recommendations to provide a normative framework for the safe and ehtical use of the Internet of Things in the workplace.

Today's applications of the Internet of Things often collect a disproportionate amount of data or operate in a legal grey zone because many issues have not yet been sufficiently elaborated: Where should the data be stored? Who has access? Which data is actually necessary for health promotion in the workplace? What may the employer or service provider do with the data? Such an unclear starting point promotes fears and leads to advantageous applications not being used.

The goal of the project is to investigate the technical, legal and ethical challenges and limitations of using the Internet of Things in occupational health programs. Among other things, we will analyze how applications of the Internet of Things affect the autonomy, identity, and privacy of employees. Based on this analysis, design recommendations will be derived that help to avoid the identified risks.

The recommendations developed in the project are intended not only to sensitize employers and employees to the opportunities and risks of the Internet of Things, but also to provide practical suggestions to reduce exaggerated fears and ethical dilemmas and to ensure the safe use of intelligent applications in the context of digital health promotion in the workplace.