|Low-Cost Ways of Improving Working Conditions: 100 Examples from Asia (ILO, 1989, 190 p.)|
The meaning of low cost varies according to the circumstances of the country and of the enterprise concerned. What may seem a very minor expenditure in one case may represent a difficult financial decision in another situation. Moreover, the actual cost depends on local wage and materials costs, whether or not an outside supplier must be used and other factors. It was therefore necessary to adopt a pragmatic definition of low cost rather than a specific amount of money. The following cost criteria were used to select examples:
- the actual financial outlay should be within the day-to-day possibilities of most enterprises, including smaller enterprises;
- the materials and labour required should be easily available, wherever possible within the enterprise itself;
- examples which increased productivity or work quality at the same time they improved working conditions are emphasised, especially if the gains are clearly identifiable.
A straightforward procedure was followed Fifteen institutions from ten countries participated: Bangladesh, Burma, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Of these institutions, five were university departments, two were independent research institutes, five were labour inspectorates and three were governmental research and training institutes. They are listed at the end of this Introduction. The collaborating institutions were asked to report examples of low-cost improvements for each of several aspects of conditions of work and occupational safety and health. Case reports were made using a standardised form which emphasised cost measurement. Photographs or drawings of the improvements were also provided wherever possible. In all, 236 cases were reported. One hundred selected cases are compiled in this book. In addition, brief information is provided on additional similar cases at the end of some of the case descriptions.