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Labor is the expedient activity of a person, as a result of which, by acting on nature and changing it, a person creates use-values. Labor “is primarily a process between man and nature, a process in which man, through his own activity, mediates, regulates and controls the exchange of substances between himself and nature” (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, vol. 23, p. 188). Labor is a social category, inextricably linked with human society.

As a result of the labor of many generations of people over thousands of years, enormous material and cultural values ​​have been created and accumulated in human society.

Labor cannot be considered a non-historical category; it is a product of historical conditions, therefore all issues related to labor should be considered only in natural close connection with specific socio-historical conditions.

The division of labor into mental and physical - a social phenomenon, due to the division of society into classes. As the construction of communism progresses, the differences between physical and mental labor are gradually erased.

Labor, however, is a biological category. It is the first and basic condition of human existence, playing a crucial role in the process of formation and evolution of man. “Labor created man himself” (F. Engels). Labor activity stimulated the division of functions between the hands and feet, the development of the human hand and the senses, the formation of the human brain with its capacity for abstract thinking. In the process of labor, a person changes his own nature, which develops and improves with the further development of production. In human nature there are no obstacles to the combination of mental and physical labor.

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In all class antagonistic socio-economic formations, human labor is subjected to brutal exploitation. The exploitation of labor reaches its highest limit under capitalism: it disfigures and cripples a person spiritually and physically.

Socialist production relations led to a radical change in the nature of labor; it is free from exploitation, labor power is no longer a commodity, the workers who own the means of production work for society, that is, for themselves. On this basis arises labor enthusiasm and various forms of socialist competition.

Technical progress associated with the mechanization and automation of labor-intensive and unhealthy work under socialism contributes to a radical improvement in working conditions (see. Occupational hazards ), a decrease in morbidity (see. Occupational diseases ) and injuries (see), since labor is not based on maximizing profits, and taking into account the physiological abilities, capabilities of workers and hygienic requirements for production.

Communist society, based on highly organized production and developed technology, changes the nature of labor, there is an organic combination of mental and physical labor in the production activity of people.

Mechanization and automation of production processes make significant changes in the content of labor and in the organization of production. The occupations of mental labor, including the management profession, are becoming increasingly important. Control over production processes requires highly skilled workers. Labor becomes a more responsible social action.

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Occupational health studies the impact of working conditions on workers' health and develops sanitary and hygienic and treatment-and-prophylactic measures aimed at creating favorable working conditions and increasing its productivity.

Recreational activities in the USSR are carried out systematically on the basis of the latest achievements of science and technology, on the basis of the most progressive labor legislation.

Soviet labor legislation establishes a 7-hour working day, and for many professions a shorter working day; governed by the rules and regulations of the device and content of industrial enterprises. All enterprises and institutions are obliged to take the necessary measures to create favorable working conditions and prevent occupational diseases and accidents. Developed hygienic standards and requirements for industrial sanitation and safety , mandatory for all departments.

New enterprises and production processes are built taking into account all the requirements of occupational health.

Soviet labor legislation specifically provided for a wide range of special measures for the protection of the labor of women (see Protection of Motherhood and Childhood) and adolescents. According to the "Fundamentals of the legislation of the USSR and the union republics on labor" it is not allowed to hire people under the age of 16. It is prohibited for adolescents to work in jobs with harmful working conditions. All adolescents are hired only after a preliminary physical examination; further medical examinations are performed annually. Wages for working adolescents with reduced working hours are paid in full.

Of great importance is the scientific organization of labor (NOT). Physiology, psychology and occupational health are integral parts of the HOT; without taking into account their requirements, high-performance, low-stress, healthy work cannot be ensured.