Technology demands uniformity from human beings who encounter it. People encountering technology, however, differ from one another. Thinkers in the early twentieth century, observing the awful consequences of interactions between humans and machines—death by automobiles or dismemberment by factory machinery, for example—developed the idea of accident proneness: the tendency of a particular person to have more accidents than most people. In tracing this concept from its birth to its disappearance at the end of the twentieth century, Accident Prone offers a unique history of technology focused not on innovations but on their unintended consequences.
Here, John C. Burnham shows that as the machine era progressed, the physical and economic impact of accidents coevolved with the rise of the insurance industry and trends in twentieth-century psychology. After World War I, psychologists determined that some people are more accident prone than others. This designation signaled a shift in social strategy toward minimizing accidents by diverting particular people away from dangerous environments. By the 1960s and 1970s, however, the idea of accident proneness gradually declined, and engineers developed new technologies to protect all people, thereby introducing a hidden, but radical, egalitarianism.
Lying at the intersection of the history of technology, the history of medicine and psychology, and environmental history, Accident Prone is an ambitious intellectual analysis of the birth, growth, and decline of an idea that will interest anyone who wishes to understand how Western societies have grappled with the human costs of modern life.
As the debate over health care reform continues, costs have become a critical measure in the many plans and proposals to come before us. Knowing costs is important because it allows comparisons across such disparate health conditions as AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and cancer. This book presents the results of a major study estimating the large and largely overlooked costs of occupational injury and illness--costs as large as those for cancer and over four times the costs of AIDS.
The incidence and mortality of occupational injury and illness were assessed by reviewing data from national surveys and applied an attributable-risk-proportion method. Costs were assessed using the human capital method that decomposes costs into direct categories such as medical costs and insurance administration expenses, as well as indirect categories such as lost earnings and lost fringe benefits. The total is estimated to be $155 billion and is likely to be low as it does not include costs associated with pain and suffering or of home care provided by family members.
Invaluable as an aid in the analysis of policy issues, Costs of Occupational Injuryand Illness will serve as a resource and reference for economists, policy analysts, public health researchers, insurance administrators, labor unions and labor lawyers, benefits managers, and environmental scientists, among others.
J. Paul Leigh is Professor in the School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of California, Davis. Stephen Markowitz, M.D., is Professor in the Department of Community Health and Social Medicine, City University of New York Medical School. Marianne Fahs is Director of the Health Policy Research Center, Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy, New School University. Philip Landrigan, M.D., is Wise Professor and Chair of the Department of Community Medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York.
From anthrax to asbestos to pesticides, industrial toxins and pollutants have troubled the world for the past century and longer. Environmental hazards from industry remain one of the world's foremost killers.Dangerous Trade establishes historical groundwork for a better understanding of how and why these hazards continue to threaten our shrinking world.
In this timely collection, an international group of scholars casts a rigorous eye towards efforts to combat these ailments. Dangerous Trade contains a wide range of case studies that illuminate transnational movements of risk—from the colonial plantations of Indonesia to compensation laws in late 19th century Britain, and from the occupational medicine clinics of 1960s New York City to the burning of electronic waste in early twenty-first century Uruguay.
The essays in Dangerous Trade provide an unprecedented broad perspective of the dangers stirred up by industrial activity across the globe, as well as the voices rasied to remedy them.
Technology, Law, and the Working Environment provides a thorough discussion of the legal issues relevant to technology-related workplace problems. It includes detailed chapters that examine occupational health and safety, toxic substance regulations, technology bargaining, and the law as it applies to the work environment. The authors explore the scope of right-to-know requirements and other worker rights, and examine the legal consequences of injury and disease for both workers and firms.After discussing the evolution of technology, work, and health since the turn of the century, the authors explore the economic and political forces that spurred the development of a variety of legal responses.Among the topics considered are: costs of occupational disease and injury market alternatives to regulating health and safety the role of economic considerations in setting standards the usefulness of economic analysis in regulatory decisionmaking the relationship between environmental regulation and workplace regulation Throughout, the text is supplemented with excerpts from key judicial decisions and selected expert commentaries that provide valuable insights into how to use the law to best effect in the workplace.
Workers at Risk is a powerful and moving documentary of workers routinely exposed to toxic chemicals. Products and services we all depend on—glass bottles, computers, processed foods and fresh flowers, dry cleaning, medicines, even sculpture and silkscreened toys—are produced by workers in constant contact with more than 63,000 commercial chemicals. For many of them, the risk of death is a way of life.
More than seventy of them speak here of their jobs, their health, and the difficult choices they face in coming to grips with the responsibilities, risks, fears, and satisfactions of their work. Some struggle for information and acknowledgment of their health risks; others struggle to put out of their minds the dangers they know too well. Through extensive interviews, the authors have captured in these voices that double bind of the chemical worker: "If I had known that it would be that lethal, that it could give me or one of my children cancer, I would have refused to work. But it's a matter of survival and we just don't consider all these things. Meanwhile, we've got to make money to survive."