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Many employees worry that a robot will eventually replace them. According to a recent study, these mechanical coworkers could also be contributing to an increase in alcohol and drug abuse. Americans are more inclined to report mental health issues and instances of alcohol and substance abuse if they were to work alongside robots, according to University of Pittsburgh researchers.

Robot use is connected to an increase in mental health issues among workers

The same study indicated that workers who use robots are unlikely to sustain significant injuries while on the job, but researchers fear that the advancement of robotics could have even more disastrous effects than a workplace disaster.

Assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the university Osea Guintella said, “There is a wide interest in understanding labor market effects of robots. And evidence of how robots affected employment and wages of workers, particularly in the manufacturing sector.”

Regarding the effects on physical and mental health, we currently know very little. On the one hand, eliminating some of the riskiest, physically demanding, and most arduous duties from human workers would reduce worker risk. On the other side, workers who may lose their employment or be required to retrain may feel more pressure as a result of the competition with robots. In fact, the institutions of the labor market may be crucial, especially during a period of transition.

Job-related injuries decrease with more robot exposure 

They discovered that there was a decrease in the number of job-related injuries each year for every quantified rise in robot involvement in the labor market. Overall, there were 1.2 fewer injuries per 100 workers with each increase in standard deviation in robot exposure.

Sadly, researchers also discovered that the number of drugs- or alcohol-related mortality rose by 37.8 cases for every 100,000 people the more people who work alongside robots. Additionally, the frequency of reported mental health difficulties and the local suicide rate were slightly increased in places where robots were present. In areas where workers are less protected, competition with robots is linked to an increase in mental health issues.