WORKERS AT RISK: Voices from the Workplace by Dorothy & Michael S. Brown Nelkin

WORKERS AT RISK: Voices from the Workplace

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How toxic chemical workers, in various settings, feel about being placed at risk in their jobs: a study-report that complements recent attention to regulation and other spotlight issues of occupational health. Sociologist/activist Nelkin (The Atom Besieged, The Creation Controversy) and researcher Brown are both associated with Cornell's Program on Science, Technology, and Society. In any discussion of risk, they would like the perceptions and anxieties of workers to be considered along with measurable exposure to hazards and states of physical health. Their interviewees--who range from sculptors to firefighters to laboratory technicians--talk about their fears of illness, their ways of coping (use of protective equipment vs. ignoring the hazards), their recourse in case of injury or illness (OSHA got poor grades). As regards the risk-control issues, opinions ran the gamut from the positive-minded, who wanted to work with management to make the workplace safer, to skeptics strictly looking out for themselves. (""I wouldn't trust that son-of-a-bitch company doctor as far as I could throw a car."") Nelkin and Brown draw few conclusions--leaving the pervasive fear of future illness to speak for itself. An effective if unremarkable presentation of worker concerns.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1984
Publisher: Univ. of Chicago Press