New Articles

Working Conditions High on the EU’s Priority List in Recent Years

working conditions

Working Conditions High on the EU’s Priority List in Recent Years

In recent years, the EU has made a strong commitment towards improving working conditions which is excellent news for employees. So, what exactly is meant by working conditions, and what steps is the EU taking to improve these conditions for workers? Read on to find out more.

Working Conditions Defined

Working conditions is a broad term that covers a lot of bases. Essentially, working conditions refer to both the working environment provided to employees by the business along with terms and conditions of employment – this means that everything including the organization of work activities, health, safety, wellbeing, work-life balance, training, and skills all fall under the term working conditions.

Benefits of Good Working Conditions

Having good work conditions is important for a number of reasons. Obviously, from the European worker’s perspective, it contributes to the physical and mental wellbeing and will help to provide overall work and life satisfaction. It is also beneficial for the business because it ensures that staff are happy, engaged, and will perform to a high standard each day. Plus, from an economic standpoint, high-quality work conditions will drive economic growth in the EU so it is a win-win situation for all.

How They Have Improved

Understandably, improving work conditions is a core issue for the EU and they have been working closely with national governments to improve the workplace environment for European workers. This has been achieved by determining what the main characteristics of a favorable work environment look like and what the criteria to meet is. EU labor laws and regulations have been established to set the minimum requirement for a sustainable working environment for EU workers and these are now applied to all Member States.

Laws

These laws have strengthened worker’s rights in recent years and it is one of the main achievements of the social policy of the EU, but compensation claims are still high with workplace accidents often being inevitable. The European Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work was established to set general principles related to minimum health and safety requirements and applies to practically all sectors.

Working with Social Partners

The EU also works with social partners such as trade unions and employer organizations via social dialogue and consultations which is key in the shaping of various different EU social and employment policies, including working hours, workers’ mobility within the EU, health, and safety, and promoting work-life balance.

Working conditions have been high on the EU’s priorities for a few years now and there have been major strides in recent times in terms of protecting EU workers. While these policies obviously help workers and provide important protection, it is also important to realize that they are beneficial for individual businesses as well as the economy as a whole so it is certainly an area that is worth focusing on.

manufacturing

How Automation is Shaping the Manufacturing Industry

Without a doubt, technology has been instrumental in revolutionizing most, if not all, industries around the world.

However, even in the face of this undeniable truth, some businesses remain hesitant about integrating certain innovations, such as automation, into their operations. Esteemed economist Christine McDaniel explained how this resistance may be due to the overblown anxiety over the false claim that automation will leave millions of blue- and white-collared professionals jobless for good.

Be that as it may, with the ongoing crisis requiring manufacturers to take certain safety measures, the dynamics between automation and this specific industry has to change in order to keep up with the times. Furthermore, a lot of experts believe that automation could be the very technology that will prepare and allow the manufacturing sector to thrive in a post-pandemic world. To give you a clearer picture, here are some of the ways automation is shaping the manufacturing industry these days:

Raise savings and cut costs

Over 478 billion of the 749 billion working hours spent on manufacturing-related activities worldwide were automatable. The aforementioned 478 billion hours, which is equivalent to $2.7 trillion worth of labor costs, provides a great opportunity for manufacturers to increase savings. In addition, a new generation of robots that are not only flexible and versatile but also relatively cheaper can help cut costs in the long run and increase the scalability of manufacturing businesses.

Enhance resiliency and simplify processes

In the face of an ongoing global health crisis, most manufacturing plants have been left with no choice but to operate below full capacity and strategically schedule workers to limit the number of employees in a specific location at any given time. And with how tedious this task can be, it’s easy to see how some manufacturing managers could easily run into challenges when coordinating the workers and the machines. Fortunately, Verizon Connect details how manufacturing managers can rely on automated software that can make the intricate process of job scheduling and machine coordinating easy and hassle-free.

Increase labor productivity

As with every other industry, automation has the ability to make businesses even more efficient. With machines and robots that can get more tasks done within a given time frame compared to traditional manual options, manufacturers can look forward to a significantly reduced production lead time and a greater total rate of production. Moreover, automation can also help accomplish seemingly impossible manual tasks that often require precision and accuracy to a greater extent. Economics Help also mentions how automation can enable factories to produce a greater range of goods that come in different sizes and designs, as well as being suited to different functions.

Improve workplace safety

Even without the pandemic, safety has always been a significant concern for manufacturers. After all, data from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that workplace injuries and accidents, which are more frequent in this field, can cost businesses nearly $62 billion per year. For many years now, on-the-job injuries have been gradually falling, thanks to machines and robots that have been doing all the heavy lifting, taking over repetitive tasks and eliminating the need for employees to work in extremely hazardous environments. In the coming years, manufacturers can continue counting on automation when it comes to making hazardous workplaces safer.

As the world braces itself for a future that’s been completely changed by the current crisis, the manufacturing industry’s reliance on automation will only run deeper, and it’s easy to see why. After all, automation has the ability to raise savings and cut costs, enhance resiliency and simplify processes, increase labor productivity and improve workplace safety.

safety

Warehouse Safety Guidelines

To the uninitiated, a warehouse might appear to be less hazardous than a factory or mill. Yet just because there is no manufacturing activity going on inside doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for danger. Forklifts and other heavy equipment are used frequently for moving goods. Chemicals and dangerous materials may be kept in storage. Simply put, safety is just as important in the warehouse as it is in any other industrial environment. Accidents and other incidents can lead to lost productivity, expensive cleanup and even legal troubles. This is why creating a culture that encourages and rewards safe behavior is essential for a warehouse facility.

Everyone bears some of the responsibility for keeping the workplace safe. From the front office to the workers on the floor, proper protocols and procedures must be among the top priorities for everyone. Owners and managers especially must be aware of what they should do to protect their staff’s health and well-being. This includes everything from creating an incentive program to installing the appropriate signage around the building. Getting employees at every level to take an active role in promoting safety is another critical strategy.

For these and many other important recommendations, refer to the accompanying guide.

Warehouse Safety Guidelines from Enviro Tech

_________________________________________________________________

Colton Mandell oversees internal operations and customer service for Enviro Tech. Enviro Tech is a top supplier of stabilized n-propyl bromide and fluorinated solvents for industrial parts cleaning applications. He has four years of experience in the industry and focuses on providing quality, customer-centric service.

safety

Safety First in the Workplace

While the race to deliver quickest shows no signs of abating, safety must come first in logistics.

While customers expect ever-decreasing delivery times, placing ever-increasing demands on the supply chain, the focus on fast should never come at the expense of workplace safety. Below are key considerations as you adopt (or enhance) a safety-first approach.

Prioritizing safety should not be a hidden commitment; rather, your employees and customers need to know that safety is an important corporate pursuit, one sought because it is a recognized value rather than a necessary liability. It must be integrated into your corporate culture.

The commitment must be a top-down pursuit, too, so that employees can see and understand the value for their employer. To that end, while the pursuit is initiated at the top, successful implementation occurs when employees are brought into the decision-making process. Establish a safety committee, for instance, that empowers your people while reinforcing critical undertakings.

Evaluate and assess all processes, engaging team members at all levels to solicit feedback. The engagement will provide meaningful reassurance that your intent is genuine while generating substantive insights.

Proper training is essential, ensuring the uniform execution of all procedures. Logistics equipment is complex, and when job tasks are modified, there must be a corporate-wide understanding of these new processes. This is especially true for employees who have long tenures at your company and for whom processes and habits become second nature and therefore difficult to break. Special emphasis on retraining those people might be helpful.

Simplify a feedback process for employees, making it easy for them to ask safety-related questions with clear instructions (and processes) about responding — promptly — to any concerns. It is imperative that all employees be fully invested in safety and processes.

As technology continues to evolve and drive greater workplace efficiencies, it can be tempting to rely on technology-generated processes. However, such an approach is fraught with risk, when human behavior is not easy to categorize. To that end, some companies designate employees to monitor other employees while performing tasks to discover elements that might go overlooked by a computer-generated report. If this works for your organization, make it an ongoing process, not a one-off pursuit, allowing you to continually refine and improve your overall approach.

Underlying all these elements is a mature corporate culture that prioritizes safety, an uncompromising value that supersedes profit, productivity and quality.

Safety first. It’s the right approach.

_______________________________________________________________

David Ide is Global Vice President of Risk at BDP International in Philadelphia, Pa.