HLTA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 20: Occupational Safety And Health, Applied Digital Data Systems, Lean Manufacturing

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12 Dec 2012
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Health, Illness, and Health Care in Canada
Chapter 20: “Don’t Work Too Hard”: Health and Safety and Workers’
Compensation in Canada
INTRODUCTION
More people are killed and injured in the workplace compared to
roads and highways
Health and safety is a major and also a largely invisible
workplace issue
Compensation systems costs cover only those injuries and
diseases deemed to be directly associated with a person’s
workplace; sometimes injuries, illnesses, and diseases such as
repetitive strain injury (RSI), chronic pain, stress, and many
forms of cancer are not compensated because their etiology
cannot be definitely determined
Injured workers and society as w hole shoulder most of the
human and economic costs that are part of, and flow from, the
ongoing “assault on the worker”
THE DESTRUCTION OF LABOUR POWER
Bernardino Ramazzini in 1700, wrote about the dangers and
diseases associated with specific occupations and also noted the
impact on the body by repetitive motions
It has been generally recognized that work became more
hazardous with the onset of industrial capitalism
According to Karl Marx, capitalists were keenly interested in
getting maximum returns on their investments in building and
technology; this was done by adding machinery to speed up and
subdivide labor, to increase the pace of production, draw out the
length of a working day, employment of women and children
(who worked just as hard as men) but received less pay
Workers protested the inherent dangers of factory production;
skilled workers formed craft union to protect the integrity of their
jobs and as vehicles of cultural and political protest
Factory Acts were passed by English Parliament regulating
workplaces and improving the health and safety of workers
1915 Ontario Workmen’s Compensation Act workers were now
assured of some financial compensation if they were injured on
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the job, but immediate and long-term drawback were present,
i.e. injured workers quickly discovered that the sums they
received were far less than what was actually needed to provide
for themselves and their families, and in instances of permanent
disabilities, the payments did not math the extent of disability
nor last as long
Not all worker’s were covered by workmen’s compensation
legislation (i.e. women and children)
Accepting guaranteed compensation gave up the right to sue
employers
THE TIMES ARE A ‘CHANGIN’
Eric Tucker in 1988 argued government initiatives directed at
making the workplace safe and healthy were co-terminus with
making the workplace “safe for capitalism”
Compensation acts had undergone change, elaboration, and
expansion over time; changes came from highly visible and
powerful social movements: civil rights, women’s, anti-Vietnam
War, student, and environmental movements
Protests of industrial and public sector workers for union
representation were also made in addition for attention for
greater safety and health
Due to various health-workplace related incidents, occupational
health was put on the agendas of the government and trade
unions
Trade union official made it clear that change for the better of
workers was coming; three basic worker rights were established:
the right to know about the substances they worked with, the
right to participate through joint health and safety committees in
maintaining and improving the safety and health conditions of
their workplaces, and the right to refuse work they considered
dangerous
The new laws allowed for workers to be able to challenge their
employer’s production methods and equipment
THE GENDER OF SAFETY AND DISEASE
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