WORK AND HEALTH READING
A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE ON WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
- workplace health and safety is highly relevant to our discussion of conflict control and
resistance in the workplace
- health and safety is a contentious issue in union-management contract
POLITICS OF WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
- early years of canada’s industrialization, workers had little protection from unsafe work-
ing conditions. e.g. resource industries, construction etc.
- death rates and injury rates were high.
- administrative model of regulations developed, in which the government set
standards for health and safety and tried to enforce them.
- employers opposed to them as their profit are threatened
- unions fought for the change and the public was supportive
- no fault compensation, in which injured workers are provide with money, depending on
the severity of injury and partial compensation for lost wages, no matter whose fault.
- enforcement by the sate, collective bargaining by unions, no fault compensation sys-
tem offer little room for direct involvement on the part of workers who are most directly
affected by unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.
- internal responsibility system (IRS) changed this.
- workers personal experience and knowledge of work practices and haz-
ards are an integral solution to health and safety problems
- workers should have the right to participate in the identification and elimi-
nation of workplace hazards.
- health and safety is also management’s responsibilities
- in the IRS, employees are directly involved with management in
monitoring and inspection, and i education and health promotion
in their workplace.
- in canada, the first major initiative of health and safety regulations was the 1972
Saskatchewan Occupational Health Act - defined as the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical,
mental, and social well-being of workers and by making joint health and safety
THE LABOUR PROCESS AND WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
- due to regulations, it has reduced some of the power differences between manage-
ment and workers and directly involved each in addressing health and safety issues.
- in employer’s point of view, a better safety record means lower costs of produc-
- critics of the IRS system is that employers ignore the joint committees,
- rather than seeking ways to make their workplace safer, they focus
on challenging work’ers claim of injuries and pushing them to re-
turn to work sooner
- workers can be exploited easily if they dont know their
rights and lack knowledge of health hazards in the work-
- stress is frequently rejected as a legitimate concern by worker’s compensation boards
who administer claims.
- only use narrow definitions of health and illness, mainly physical injuries and fa-
WORK AND ALIENATION
- alienation is defined as the human condition resulting from an absence of fulfilling
KARL MARX AND ALIENATING WORK WITH CAPITALISM
- word alienate refers to an act of separation, or to the transfer of something to a new
- marx described alienation to the overall experience of work under effects of
capitalist production relations in working class.
- sources of alienation
- ‘structural perspective’
- product - products workers made didn’t belong to them. ownership is under those
who hired the workers, the owner of the firm. decision of what to make is
controlled by the management. profits generated from the products are
remained with the owners. due to extensive division of labour, many
workers may not see the finished product.
- workers were alienated from the product of their own work.
- activity of work
- this refers to the control over the labour process is shifted from workers
to capitalists or managers. workers lost the chance to make decisions
about how the work should be done. this fragmentation of work process
takes away worker’s intrinsic (internal) work rewards e.g. pride and self-
- from others
- in bureaucratic hierarchies could have this effect. as now, workers are
paid for their labour, wages. work was transformed from a creative, col-
lective activity to individualistic, monetary activi