The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Industries, Welfare Work in

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Industries, Welfare Work in
Edition of 1920. See also Occupational welfare on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

INDUSTRIES, Welfare Work in. An interesting and valuable feature of modern industrial life is the attention given by many employers to the safety, comfort and health of workers. The new impetus in this field takes its origin not only from philanthropic and paternalistic motives, but from the demands of modern business for scientific management and industrial efficiency. In addition to reform legislation making many such measures effective, an increasing number of employers have found it expedient to adopt various methods for safeguarding and protecting their employees. The result has been manifest not only in the improvement of the immediate working environment and the creation of numerous safety devices, but in the provision for lunch and rest rooms; recreation facilities, rest periods in monotonous work; medical inspection and attention which includes all arrangements from simple first aid to elaborate hospitals, factory physicians, sanitariums, home care by nurses; social organization and education of workers; housing facilities; insurance, pension, etc. A welfare secretary is often employed whose duties consist in caring for the general personal interest of the employees, and in addition, the engaging and readjusting of labor, the meeting of complaints and solving the problem of discipline. The principle of the entire work is the most economic use of the energy available by the right adjustment between the worker and the machine and the adaptation of both to the general work. The result from the employer's point of view has been a marked increase of output because of the lessening of fatigue, the adjusting of the “man to the job” and the heightening of interest on the part of the employed. In connection with the European War, studies of the labor problems have established the fact that such measures for industrial betterment heighten human efficiency and lessen the fatigue and monotony consequent to excessive demand for labor on diminished physical forces. (See Labor Legislation in the United States). Consult Proud, E. D., ‘Welfare Work’ (1916); Cadbury, E., ‘Experiments in Industrial Organization’ (London 1912); Hoxie, R. F., ‘Scientific Management and Labor’ (New York 1915); Whitney, A. L., ‘Rest and Recreation Rooms and Rest Periods for Employees’ (in monthly review of United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vol. V, October 1917, No. 4); id., ‘Medical, Surgical and Hospital Treatment for Employees’ (id., September 1917, pp- 59-67); Goldmark, Josephine, ‘Fatigue and Efficiency’ (1912).