Workplace Safety

safety movement

safety movement, widespread effort to prevent accidents that followed the increasing number of casualties in industry, traffic and transportation, and homes arising out of the Industrial Revolution and the growth of cities. Large manufacturing companies, public utilities, railroads, steamship lines, and insurance companies were particularly concerned with reducing the number of injuries and deaths as well as with cutting the cost of workmen's compensation, other damage payments, and litigation arising out of accidents. Humanitarianism and the evolution of an awareness of public responsibility were other factors in the initiation of the safety movement, which took the form of educating the public in accident prevention by way of safety clubs, posters, magazines, and other means. A vital part of the safety movement was the passing of laws, such as those requiring that buildings be constructed in accord with fire prevention laws, that automobiles meet certain basic safety requirements, that halls be well lighted in certain classes of buildings, that machinery be properly guarded, that food conform to specified standards, and that poisonous materials be so marked. In the United States the National Safety Council, founded in 1913, collects and distributes information and statistics regarding safety in industry, the home, travel, and schools. Numerous federal, state and local agencies deal with safety issues. On the federal level, the Federal Aviation Administration (founded 1958) deals with air travel; the Consumer Product Safety Commission (1972) protects the public against unsafe products; the Environmental Protection Agency (1970) regulates toxic chemicals and environmental hazards; the Food and Drug Administration (1931) regulates food, drugs, and cosmetics; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (1970) enforces safety in the workplace; the Federal Highway Administration (1966) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (1970) administer programs to increase safety on the nation's highways; the Federal Railroad Administration (1966) covers rail safety; the Mine Safety and Health Administration (1973) regulates mines; the National Transportation Safety Board (1966) investigates and regulates safety issues for all types of transportation; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1974) regulates nuclear power; and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (1981) inspects meat and poultry products.

See C. L. Gilmore, Accident Prevention and Loss Control (1970); R. Mokhiber, Corporate Crime and Violence (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Workplace Safety: Selected full-text books and articles

Unmaking the Global Sweatshop: Health and Safety of the World's Garment Workers By Rebecca Prentice; Geert De Neve University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017
Workplace Injuries and Diseases: Prevention and Compensation : Essays in Honor of Terry Thomason By Karen Roberts; John F. Burton Jr.; Matthew M. Bodah W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2005
Health and Safety in Organizations: A Multilevel Perspective By David A. Hofmann; Lois E. Tetrick Jossey-Bass, 2003
Safety Practices, Firm Culture, and Workplace Injuries By Richard J. Butler; Yong-Seung Park W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2005
Collecting Union Status for the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries: A Massachusetts Case Study By Laing, James; Redmond, Jill Janocha; Fiore, Michael; Davis, Letitia Monthly Labor Review, February 2019
Using Workplace Safety and Health Data for Injury Prevention By Wiatrowski, William J Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 136, No. 10, October 2013
Investing in Workplace Safety By Berghoefer, Corey Risk Management, Vol. 65, No. 10, November 2018
Trust in Communication Key to Workplace Safety By Smith, Sandy Occupational Hazards, Vol. 70, No. 9, September 2008
Thinking of Better or Worse? How Goal Orientation Affects Safety Behavior in near Misses By Lu, Hongxu; Wu, Ting; Liu, Dawei; Wang, Zhe Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, Vol. 46, No. 3, March 2018
Developing Effective Workplace Safety Programs: Part 2: The Unintended Consequences of Safety By Henderson, Maria; Thompson, Michael W Risk Management, Vol. 57, No. 4, May 2010
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