"Workers At Risk" By Dorothy Nelkin And Michael S. Brown. Speaks Of The Lack Of Information Regarding Unsafety In The Work Environment

693 words - 3 pages

In the book 'Workers at Risk' the authors, Dorothy Nelkin and Michael S. Brown, interviewed a number of 'working class' people. The authors enticed workers to discuss their major concerns regarding occupational health and safety. Almost all the interviewed workers had some complaints regarding the subject and some seemed quite upset in regards to their complaints. The authors, however, did not interview management in order to receive responses to workers concerns. Thus we have no concrete inside into this side of the issue. However, this paper will attempt to show how management may respond to the issue and will also decipher the major concerns expressed by the workers.A general feeling one gets from reading the interviews is that workers feel that they only receive very limited information in regards to hazardous materials they are using. Workers tend to feel that management has a paternalistic attitude towards them and that they know what is best for the worker. Management, on the other hand, may suggest that there is a lack of information regarding many of the issues regarding health and safety and that a unwarranted 'panic' may in- sue if information is released without sufficient evidence. There also seems to be many suggestions that management feels that it is the worker's own fault for many ill-effects. That is workers are unwilling to use proper precautions or their life styles may play large roles in ill effects.Workers also implied that once they are experiencing symptoms that without adequate proof they have no way of confronting management. This, in-turn, caused many workers to keep quiet about their problems; either because it was 'their problem' or it was 'just part of the job'. Some workers even felt that reporting may lead to retribution. But most just felt that their complaints would be disputed of dismissed. As is evident by Joe's (laboratory, chemical plant) statement, ' ... a couple of neurologist told me it was linked to phosgene, but its something you could never prove. There is no use fighting it' (Nelkin and Brown, pg.26). On the other side of the coin,...

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