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Soren Randrup-Thomsen, M.Sc., Ph.D., Head of Department, Risk & Safety, Ramboll Denmark

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Kristin Watson, Senior Vice President, Global Technology Development, MiTek

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Chris Heger, Chief Innovation Officer, OAC Services

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The Changing Privacy and Regulatory Landscape

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The virus that made us Virtual

Jorge Vazquez, Safety Director at MAREK

The virus that made us VirtualJorge Vazquez, Safety Director at MAREK

The year 2020 would be remembered as the year that the whole world came to a complete stop; the news of a new virus spreading across the globe and becoming a pandemic threat to humanity spread fear among those watching the news.

Before this event, we have not fully experienced the possibility of working virtually, much less have our kids attend school through a virtual class.A virus is known as an agent that lives inside an organism and makes copies of itself. When we think about how that mirrors our life, it becomes interesting; with the use of the internet, we have made copies of ourselves, allowing usto be in multiple places without leaving the comfort of our home.

Over the last decade, people have been changinghow they look online,finding new waysof expressing themselves in an unlimited manner, much like a highway with no boundaries, speed limits, or traffic control.  This new way of living is becoming somehow unsustainable, and several symptoms have appeared indicating our society is suffering from the Information we are generating. 

One of the first effects on our behavior during the pandemic was that we were unstable at times, turning against each other,struggling to communicate, and to contain the spread with started denying access for travelers, closing borders,very similar to howelectronic corruptive files act.  Countries wereaffectedin so many ways that some began to collapse, similar to a computer hard drive.

Wehave experienced active shooters for several years, and as a result, society has been divided into what the root causemight be. Some attributed this to gun control laws, some to the government, and some to a hardship childhood.  Why does it seem that the more science and technology advances, we experience more cases of mental illness? Would it be the Information we are consuming that causes people to find themselves lost?

We all know that our safety relies on communication; regardless of the type of industry we are in, communication is key to accomplishing better outcomes and adapt to any challenging situation that we might encounter in our daily lives or line of business.   

Since our everyday life has become more of virtual life,it's safe to say we are now officially in a vulnerable world. The average person does not fully comprehend the risks involved with using technology, much less what effects it would have in the long run on its health.

Safety regulations have always been under the radar to avoid collateral damages to workers or assets. All these compromising hazards are physical; now, let's talk about the digital dangers that affect our living world.

In the past, technology had limited use; the most typical use involved sending a fax, an email, or a phone call. Now, smartphones and social platforms have reached most of the population's usage. We now see people communicating from an active shooting scene or even reporting a safety inspection at a jobsite.

Over the years, we seem to evolve and become better at preventing accidents. The industries have become more safety-conscious. As a result, plenty of Information is now being discussed and shared by industry experts

Some commonly digital world hazards are

Identity Theft Exposure

Personal Information more vulnerable than ever

Average online user lack of cybersecurity awareness

Scammers pretending to be online assistance

Online attacks are known as the kidnapping of a service or company

Abuse of streaming services on company's devices

Sensitive documentation or Information that may affect the company's business

Increase of mental illness cases as a result of extremist ideas on videos that trigger human behavior into acting violently

Cancel Culture Era

Cyber Bullying

Wrongful company representation by social media publications (i.e., TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Reviews or comments meant to be for good use turned into cyber trollingCompany stolen items sold on online sites like Marketplace or Craiglist

What safety approach can we take in this digital age?

Establish technology awareness throughout the company

Consider a social media policy and make it known to your employees

Social media monitoring

Training Meetings on company devices use and expectations

Deployed exercises on suspicious emails or harmful links to increase awareness of risks.

Consider a plan to deal with online reviews

Mental Illness awareness campaign

Explore benefits of connecting with employees in person instead of online.

Encourage employees to monitor their time in front of a screen

Update employees on technology advancements

Our digital world now transitions into the real world we live in; putting this in perspective is like taking our children to a dangerous construction site for a visit.  We know it is not a safe place for them, even with personal protective equipment; if we can see that as a hazardous environment, what can we say about the safety precautions taken to enter a digital environment.

We have to remember that just like any place in the world, the digital world also has its hazards.  We are quick to recognize must-lifethreats, but when we leave the natural world and enter the digital world, we let our guard down and forget we can be compromised and suffered a different kind of incident.  

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