Workplace Safety Essay

Total Length: 618 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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Q1. The Gauley Bridge disaster took place in the 1920s, before appropriate health and safety requirements were imposed upon industries to protect workers. Workers were often forced to tolerate such conditions because they had no other options by which to make a living. Furthermore, a certain degree of physical risk to workers was acceptable in the eyes of employers. To some extent, this is also true in many developing world nations such as India, where the Bhopal gas tragedy took place. If there was a sudden absence of federal and state mandates in the United States, workers would still bring contemporary safety expectations to the workplace in many industry sectors. Also, despite the fact there has been substantial attrition of the power of unions, unions still have enough clout in some areas to demand better conditions.

Thus, lapsing back to where things were within a year might be overstating the case. On the other hand, within a decade, worker conditions would likely decline. Even within the United States today, the conditions in many industries, such as the livestock industry, garment factors, and lawn care services are dominated by immigrant workers, often illegal, who have little clout and no voice in a union. They often face workplace risks comparable to those of employees in the early half of the twentieth century. Of course, in some industries, employers might feel compelled to offer safer workplaces to attract employees but in areas where jobs are scarce, market pressures cannot be relied upon.

Q2. I agree that repetitive stress injuries are likely to be the injuries that employees must be protected from to a greater degree than ever before.
A very high percentage of the workforce is made upon of white collar workers who work at desk jobs. Furthermore, more and more people are taking work home and spending more time in front of the computer for work-related reasons as a result. Finally, even leisure time activities have become more sedentary and people spend many hours a day texting and Facebooking with friends. Coupled with jobs which require typing for hours on end, there is a toxic combination of activities that can result in repetitive strain injuries.

On the other hand, sitting for hours a day can weaken one’s back muscles. The sedentary leisure time activities of people mean that they may not have the protective, core strength to protect against injuries. Although people who lift heavy things for a living might presumably be more physically fit than the average desk worker, they do not necessarily know how to lift things in an optimal manner. Still, repetitive strain injuries may be more likely, simply because of the sheer number of desk jobs which exist today; the important thing….....

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