Reflective comment on Garner

On reading the Garner article, the point that resonated with me as a health professional was monitoring employees electronically for their fitness and health. Whilst I believe that employers should be adaptable in order to employ those with disabilities, safety of the workforce and clients is a priority. An example is that I previously worked in a facility where it was the duty of nurses to respond quickly to medical emergencies, with the emergency trolley, which could be anywhere in the facility including upstairs. It was imperative that the nurse was fit enough to do this which wasn’t always the case and therefore put the client at risk. If fitness monitoring was in place, this could have been prevented, although I feel in an ideal world, the manager and staff should be managing this on a human level. However,  do think that this monitoring is very workplace dependant and shouldn’t be used unless fitness is deemed an essential component of the position

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5 thoughts on “Reflective comment on Garner

  1. kathleen says:

    Oh what an interesting perspective Deb! I think that these points are equally as important as the privacy aspect of health and fitness tracking. Many companies already require employees undergo medicals, as well as things like drug testing. This is another good case of technology being useful, if, and only if, it is used thoughtfully.

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  2. Lisa Hetherington says:

    I found this prediction particularly pernicious. Of course employers want healthy, productive workers, but constant monitoring of all their employees’ health and fitness levels on the job is excessive and a waste of company funds.

    If you get yearly medical clearance to work from a GP, are a productive worker and able to manage well what you are deployed to do, why should it be essential that you wear a tracking device? It seems purely a measure of control and power. I can imagine it being used in some devious manner, such as a person takes sick leave but does not get paid for it because the tracking device ‘tracked’ no signs of illness the day before, or a person who has a personality clash with the boss is suddenly dismissed on the grounds that the tracking device reveals him unfit for duty.

    Hope I don’t sound too cynical!!

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  3. Lisa Hetherington says:

    Deb, I do, of course, see that context you have presented shows the benefits of the tracking device. I would be interested to find out what the analysts base their prediction of 2 million people on, and what major workplace environments these represent. Only then, I suppose, could one say that these devices are essential for overall safety of the company and should form part of the workplace health and safety budget. My initial response was, “That’s outrageous!” as you can see but I have done some reflection 🙂

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    • kathleen says:

      Lisa I think that some outrage is good! These devices can be used well, or really badly and if we don’t get outraged by what could potentially happen then I think we are setting ourselves up to let them happen.

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  4. Deborah Fuller says:

    Thanks for your comments guys. When I posted it, I felt it was a contentious issue, but I do think introducing technology in workplaces such as health trackers can have value, if it is done for the right reasons. Consultation should be done with representatives from management and staff before anything is introduced, along with considerations of other less intrusive options.

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