The enterprise should provide various welfare facilities and services for workers because they are an essential part of good working conditions. They are important both during working hours and to ensure better condition of life.
Good facilities contribute not only to the welfare of workers but also to production and better relations. Adequate, clean sanitary facilities, cool, potable water and inexpensive nutritious food affect health, nutrition and quality of work.
Facilities during working hours
It consists of the following
Facilities for personal sanitation (toilets, washing facilities, cloakrooms and lockers or places for drying and storing working clothes) should be provided near workplaces;
Access to drinking water or other beverage and to canteens or other food services;
Facilities to help reduce fatigue, such as seats, rest areas, or recreation facilities.
The workplace should have good sanitary facilities of toilets, washing facilities and showrooms. There should be separate toilets and washrooms, to prevent the spread of bacteria. The management should employ someone with responsibility for keeping the toilets clean, and make sure that the cleaning is done everyday.
Canteen services are extremely useful as the nutrition of workers is often poor and inadequate, especially in developing countries. Cases have been reported where workers arrive at work without having eaten enough and, since there are no canteens, work without any meals through their working hours. Therefore, in such cases, output is low and the absenteeism rate high. The workers’ meals, should be good both in quantity (enough calories) and quality (nutritional balance).
In undertakings where the provision of canteens is not practicable, snack services or meal-preparing rooms should be provided. Snack trolleys, however, should not be introduced into workplaces where dangerous or harmful processes make it undesirable to eat there.
Special consideration should be given to shift workers. They should be able to obtain meals and beverages at appropriate times.
In small and medium-sized enterprises, arrangements should also be made to provide workers with access to meals.
Welfare facilities provide benefits for the enterprise as well as luxuries. Welfare facilities provide benefits for the enterprise as well as for the worker. Sanitary facilities and drinking water are essential, followed by facilities for meals, rest, commuting, etc.
Welfare facilities to improve living conditions
The welfare facilities to improve the living conditions should be in providing good housing for workers like by promoting ownership or rental of houses or apartments; should be in providing facilities for commuting, where necessary; low-price stores or other facilities to ensure regular supplies of food and other necessary goods; access to health care in the case of sickness or accident; facilities to improve education and in particular to ensure literacy; there should be sports and recreational facilities; child-care facilities and social assistance.
Problems of housing and living conditions are often related to urbanisation and worsened by rapid industrialisation. Conditions of life must be given adequate consideration at the planning stage. As the efforts by each undertaking are limited, support by public programmes and participation of employers’ and workers’ organisations are important.
Long commuting distances and times add considerably to fatigue at work. An increase in commuting times in growing cities and in large industrial zones is seen in many countries. The impact of any reduction in working hours on workers’ leisure and rest may be reduced or even cancelled by time-consuming commuting. The cost of daily commuting often exceeds a reasonable percentage of wages.
Setting up health-care services, access to education and child-care facilities is also very important. It should be remembered that in some sectors and especially in developing countries, there is no suitable “infrastructure” for these services and facilities. When the undertaking does not directly provide these services for workers, support should be given in order to make independent, public or private services available.
Joint efforts of employers and workers are important in improving welfare facilities. There are many forms of action. Practical steps should be taken and evaluated after some time.
Efforts towards safety, health and working conditions
Wide-scale improvements can only be made in safety, health and working conditions if people work together. Active participation of governments, management and workers must be the basis of these improvements.
Safety, health and working conditions is an appropriate area for increased activity and commitment by both the employer and the employees at individual workplaces. One reason is that the workplace problems are near at hand — all workers and supervisors are affected by poor working conditions. Everybody can decide for himself whether his workplace conditions are good or bad and everybody can make suggestions or observations on how to improve the quality and safety of their own work. We can all see the results of our mutual efforts.