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Canada (162,160)
HLTA02H3 (137)
Chapter 20

HLTB03 - Chapter 20

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Department
Health Studies
Course
HLTA02H3
Professor
Michelle Silver
Semester
Fall

Description
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 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 • Women did not receive the same rights as men in the workforce in terms of health and safety • Office Work Is Dangerous To Your Health (1983) – written by Jeanne Stellman and Mary Sue Henifin; outlined the hazards faced by women in office work (poorly designed furnit
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