A European standard is shaped by those who contribute to its development: this requires attending meetings, analyzing written requirements and procedures, and following correspondence among experts. This is the only way workers’ input can make the difference when drafting a standard.
From the standpoint of an individual trade union member the whole process of producing and revising standard looks very remote and complicated. Moreover, the whole procedure seems to be dominated by large organizations with the huge resources need to send delegates to all of the meetings.
However, it is still possible for an individual or a small organization representing workers’ interests to have their say in the standardization process and perhaps make significant changes to the standards impacting working conditions and health and safety.
As an example, when getting involved in standards for machinery safety, personal protective equipment and ergonomics, the use of feedback from operators into standardization ensures that standards are more human-centred, and take into account the human-machine interface in the whole range of conditions of use. This requires trade unions to understand how the European standardization system works.
The key aspect is that standardization is a combination of work at national and European level, which requires action by national trade unions complemented by European networking and coordination.
The national standardization organization of your country can provide you with a range of services giving help and advice on how best to contribute to standardization. Find your contacts according to the following different levels of involvement at:
National standardization organizations allow you to give your views on standards being developed and offer support and training to those who wish to contribute to the development of standards. Contact your national standardization organization to find out how you can get involved.
- National level through ETUC national trade unions and/or through dedicated organizations
Take contact with your national trade union to find out how you can get support in your standardization activity.
In France, the organization ‘EUROGIP’ coordinates numerous experts involved in the development of European or international standards concerning health and safety at work.
In Germany, the organization ‘KAN’ ensures that the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) - interests of various institutions – the social partners, the State, the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) and DIN – are collectively represented in opinions on current and planned standardization projects.
- European level through the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) or the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI)
Actually, although in some countries, national standardization organizations are proactive in involving workers through the participation of one or more national trade union federation in general policy-making and standards development work, in most European countries, workers’ expertise in standardization may be scarce or not exist, and NSB are not proactive in facilitating trade union’s contribution. Hence, the role of ETUC, the European Trade Union Confederation, and ETUI, the European Trade Union Institute, in acting as the voice of the European trade unions directly in the work of the European Standardization Organizations.
On general standardization matters as well as for services or industrial advancement, please take contact with the ETUC. For Machinery and ergonomics, please take contact with the ETUI.
Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 5
B - 1210 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 224 04 11
Fax: +32 (0)2 224 04 54
Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 5 box 4
B - 1210 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 224 04 70
Fax: +32 (0)2 224 05 02
Get involved through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO, CEN international counterpart) and/or International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC, CENELEC international counterpart).