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close this bookLow-Cost Ways of Improving Working Conditions: 100 Examples from Asia (ILO, 1989, 190 p.)
close this folderINTRODUCTION
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSelection of examples
View the documentTypes of improvements
View the documentThe potential for action
View the documentContributions of case studies

Types of improvements

Three main areas of potential improvement in working conditions are covered; work organisation and workstation design; the working environment; and welfare facilities. In each of these areas, a great variety of measures were found in all the countries which participated. Very often, these improvements are outside the scope of national regulations or go beyond legal requirements. They have frequently been adopted as means of increasing productivity. The main types of improvements under each of these three headings are summarized below.

Work organisation and workstation design:

- simple changes in workstations, such as machine-feeding devices, jigs and fixtures, better placement of components and tools, improved layout of controls and displays, use of pneumatic devices, introduction of less strenuous work methods and provision of platforms or adjustable chairs;

- better materials handling, including the provision of push-carts, use of leverage in tools and materials handling, improved methods of lifting, use of mechanical aids and improved transportation routes;

- arrangements for good housekeeping, storage and access to work locations, for example by clearing passageways, use of handrails, installing storage shelves and racks, providing waste boxes or trays, improving drainage and arranging easier and safer access to work areas;

- better job content and work schedules, including re-design of tools and machines for less stressful operation, avoidance of continuous standing, introduction of job rotation and insertion of frequent short breaks.

The physical work environment:

- better lighting through installation of skylights, painting walls in light colours, lowering or re-positioning lights, improving lighting fixtures and arrangements to reduce glare and increase contrast;

- reduction of heat and noise by isolation or screening of sources, use of thermal barriers or noise dampeners, longer tools to enable work further from heat sources, insulation of machines or parts producing heat or noise and use of protective equipment;

- better handling, use and storage of hazardous substances including prevention of spillage, dust control and enclosure of hazardous processes;

- effective guards and other safety devices, including locally-made guards, foot guards, face shields, metal sheet or mesh guards, welding partitions, two-hand operating devices and handrails near dangerous places;

- safe working procedures, including mechanical aids, mechanical inter-locks, special warnings and instructions, improved work stands allowing safe work motions, improved electrical wiring, ready access to fire extinguishers and work methods which make injuries less likely.

Welfare facilities;

- improved sanitary facilities including repair and cleaning of toilets and provision of waste bins, washing facilities and changing rooms;

- provision of drinking water or other beverages and arrangements for meals, such as safe water sources or filtering devices, a tea break corner, a small canteen or eating place, arrangements for subsidised meals and delivery of packed lunches;

- provision of recreation, child care and transport facilities, such as sports facilities using available space, a reading corner, creches or various arrangements for daily transportation of workers.