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

Regulating Workplace Safety: System and Sanctions By Neil Gunningham; Richard Johnstone Oxford University Press, 1999
Managing the Risk of Workplace Stress By Sharon Clarke; Cary L. Cooper Routledge, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Environmental Factors and Occupational Safety" and Chap. 4 "Psychological Factors and Occupational Safety"
Causes of Death in the Workplace By J. Paul Leigh Quorum Books, 1995
Health and Safety in Organizations: A Multilevel Perspective By David A. Hofmann; Lois E. Tetrick Jossey-Bass, 2003
Making Washington Work: Tales of Innovation in the Federal Government By John D. Donahue Brookings Institution, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 10 "Motivating Job Safety"
Critical Issues in Business Conduct: Legal, Ethical, and Social Challenges for the 1990s By Walter W. Manley II; William A. Shrode Quorum Books, 1990
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Workplace Safety, Consumer Protection, and Product Quality"
Economic Effects of Government-Mandated Costs By Robert F. Lanzillotti; University of Florida.Public Policy Research Center University Presses of Florida, 1978
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "Can Safety Be Mandated?," Chap. 5 "OSHA and U.S. Industry," and Part Three "Aspects of Occupational Safety and Health in the U.S."
Alone in a Crowd: Women in the Trades Tell Their Stories By Jean Reith Schroedel Temple University Press, 1985
Librarian's tip: "Occupational Safety and Health" begins on p. 51
Fetal Protection in the Workplace: Women's Rights, Business Interests, and the Unborn By Robert H. Blank Columbia University Press, 1993
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Evidence of Reproductive Hazards in the Workplace"
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