Robots are helping workers, not threatening jobs
The idea of robots working in construction is getting more negative than positive media coverage. Stories about job losses and robots taking over are not uncommon. However, the reality is that robots, which can work in extremely hot, cold, dusty and even dangerous environments, are supporting construction workers. True, some changes are necessary. Jobs will be different and processes and even materials need to change to facilitate further modernisation and with it, the productivity gains and reduction in work-related accidents and illnesses that robots can help to achieve. During its meeting last week, FIEC’s Construction 4.0 Working Group heard from an expert in robotics, Prof. Sigrid Brell-Cokcan, from the University of Aachen. Amongst other things, she explained that some stone masons are enjoying working with a collaborative robot (cobot). They are even enjoying their work more than before, because they have eliminated the less pleasant tasks, while maintaining control of the overall work and of their cobot.
Workshop on “Psycho-social risks in construction” on 29/11/2017
Good working conditions and quality work are two sides of the same coin and today it is broadly recognised that in this respect various parameters are influencing the overall work situation.
Being aware of the importance of psycho-social well-being in the workplace, the European sectoral Social Partners for the construction industry have started a joint project, co-financed by the European Commission (DG EMPL), entitled “Mental Health in Construction”.
The main goals of the project are to:
- Collect and present existing best practice and practical approaches at EU and national level, in particular as regards the “risk assessment” of psycho-social risks in the workplace.
- Run research on changes impacting the construction industry work and its framework conditions.
- Work out a concept for an “Evaluation Tool/guidelines” for helping construction companies to assess and reduce psycho-social risks in the workplace. Amongst other things this will focus on the specific conditions in micro and small enterprises.
A first workshop will take place on 29/11 in Brussels (see the final draft programme by clicking on the “Read more” button here below). Should you be interested in attending this workshop or for further information please contact the FIEC Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIEC in Strasbourg for “CEF transport campaign”
On 15th November, in Strasbourg, the European Commission organised a high level conference on the future of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – “Invest to Connect Europe” – with the involvement of a number of Members of the European Parliament.
FIEC took part in the delegation of the “CEF transport coalition”, which highlighted the funding needs and added-value of EU action in the field of transport infrastructure.
While there seems to be a large consensus regarding the positive impact of the Connecting Europe Facility so far, some tough negotiations lie ahead, concerning the EU’s next multi-annual financial framework (post-2020).