The technology that has allowed so many of us to work from home has also become the means of keeping us reachable at every hour of the day, with major implications for our mental health, says Andrew Pakes.

A universal presumption that work will be safe, or at least as safe as it can be, is one of the key achievements of the labour movement over the past century. Gone are the days of people crawling into moving machinery because it’s too costly to shut it down. But the new world of work brings its own challenges and it is up to us as trade unions to ensure that the rights of workers keep up with those changes.

When we think of safety at work many will tend to think about things such as portable appliance testing, fire safety and all those other more specific procedures, depending on your place of work and the technology that you are operating. But more and more, the leading industrial cause of time off work is poor mental health — and being contactable at all times is one factor that can feed into that.

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