Publication date: 2004

How can workers' experience and knowledge be made to inform the development of standards and design of the equipment the work with?

That is one issue that tops the ETUI Health and safety department's agenda as the trade union representative to the European Committee for Standardization.

This book sets out the findings of research that aims to promote and focus on participatory approaches to equipment design. It shows what lessons not just standards bodies, but also the European public authorities responsible for framing design rules and policing the market of the work equipment, can learn from it.

An analysis of thirty-eight case studies collected in seven European Union countries showcases the wide but unseen knowledge base that end users possess on the processes and equipment that they work with. Knowledge that can be leveraged both in and outside the workplace to improve technical standards. The mine of information gathered from users is a basis not just for devising technical solutions, but also putting them to work.

Workers and trade unions must be actively involved in systematically collecting information at the workface, and in transferring and giving legitimacy to their knowledge in arenas outside the workplace.

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