Dusting the lungs: environmental health and safety in sewers, printeries and minesSeeing Red: Forum of social, political and cultural dissent
AbstractConventionally there are three parties to the labour relationship – unions/workers, employers, and government. Underlying these there’s a fourth - the working environment. In the workplace, occupational health and safety governs job security, health, and life. This isn’t a new link. Historically, occupation-related diseases have been known, documented, and ignored by employers.i Profit has always sent ohs to the tip. The international labour movement has fought – and often lost - on issues as varied as sugar workers against weils disease in cane fields, meat-workers against contact with infected meat, agricultural workers and hairdressers against work-related dermatitis and poisoning, shearers against scabby sheep, match-workers against ‘phossy jaw’ in the early 20th century, manufacturing workers against lack of protective clothing and unshielded machinery, and battery workers against lead poisoning. The 8 hour day movement spearheaded shorter hours campaigns targeting exposure to life-threatening workplaces. Along with the miners’, printers’ and smelter workers’ struggles described below, these have all been fights between workers and employers over environmental and physical dangers at work.
Citation InformationPost-print of: Webb, R 2005, 'Dusting the lungs: environmental health and safety in sewers, printeries and mines', Seeing Red: Forum of social, political and cultural dissent, vol. 4.