Workers Health Assurance Groups

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Described by Peter Fleissner at

"Most of the Italian Trade Unions started an initiative to improve the ill-health situation in the factories, in particular for manual workers . They applied two new ideas, the concept of the “Homogenous Group” and the “non delega” principle. The homogenous group meant people working on the same assembly line with more or less identical working environment, and also knowing each other on a face-to-face basis. They could form not only a interactively working community, but also a politically conscious group acting for the improvement of their working conditions. By applying the “non delega” principle the workers opposed the often used practice of having professional physicists as mediators between the workers and their environment. The Homogenous Group itself took care of adequate conditions in the working place, assisted by guidelines and also technical devices to measure the environmental situation. The work in Homogenous Groups was rather creative. They developed new concepts of measuring and describing illnesses, no longer by Latin names, but by the length of the time period necessary for recovery from the illness.

In the 1970s these concepts started to be implemented also by Swiss and Austrian Trade Unions, but they died out with the economic crisis of the mid seventies. Today there are even more opportunities by giving such groups support via the Internet, linking them to each other and also to professional resources on issues of occupational health." (