Letter: Technology can keep workers safe as economies reopen

April 12, 2021
Another way of looking at the system that governs Bryan Harris’ access to the FT’s Brazil bureau is that the technology provides greater efficiency — when installed correctly — and removes the need for a security guard at the door of the building (“Love affair with tech leaves opening for data theft”, Brazil Notebook, April 7).
During the first wave of Covid-19 last year, male security guards had the second highest death rate compared to people of the same sex and age in England and Wales: higher even than healthcare workers, according to the Office for National Statistics.

While it is not possible to establish occupational exposure as the cause of death alone, there is no doubt that technology has a role to play, as the world reopens, in keeping workers safe in their jobs, and the public secure as they return to the streets and offices.

Using a video camera to govern access to a building frees up guards for more valuable work and keeps them, and the building’s users gaining access, safe.

What’s more, video technology such as that described by Harris also allows building managers to identify whether users are wearing face masks, maintaining safe social distances and avoiding overcrowding in public spaces, such as railway station platforms, instead of leaving this activity to the police or guards, who then put themselves at risk of infection.

Shouldn’t one of the lessons from the pandemic be that technology offers solutions to the challenges we face?

Of course, questions around the responsible use of this tech must be addressed and robust procedures put in place to protect the data that it generates.

In Europe this is ensured through the General Data Protection Regulation, which provides the data protection required while supporting the role of technology to help us act on security challenges in new and far more efficient ways.

Letter: Technology can keep workers safe as economies reopen was first published in The Financial Times.

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Neil Killick
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