Chapter

Health hazards in the physical work environment

Clare Bambra

in Work, Worklessness, and the Political Economy of Health

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588299
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731372 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588299.003.0003
Health hazards in the physical work environment

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This chapter examines the health effects of three traditional dimensions of the physical work environment: chemical hazards including exposure to toxic substances used in industrial processes (asbestos, silica, coal dust, and lead); environmental factors such as noise, vibration, and workplace injuries; as well as ergonomic hazards such as repetitive movements, heavy lifting, and including shift work. It argues that despite changes in the nature of the economy in advanced market democracies, these physical hazards are still an important public health issue for many working age people. It suggests that differences in occupational exposures may well be of significance in terms of explaining socio-economic inequalities in health. It also examines how exposure to physical work environment hazards varies by country and how legislation can reduce the levels to which workers are exposed.

Keywords: health effects; occupational health; chemical hazards; environmental factors; ergonomic hazards; welfare state

Chapter.  10824 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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