Thursday, January 19, 2006

Worker Safety Under Siege: Read All About It

A new book covering a variety of different workplace safety issues -- Worker Safety Under Seige: Labor, Capital, and the Politics of Workplace Safety in a Deregulated World -- was published last month.

The premise of the publication, edited by Vernon Mogensen, associate professor of Political Science at Kingsborough Community College in New York, should be no surprise to Confined Space readers: "the rights of workers to safe and healthful workplaces are under attack to a greater extent now than at any time since the passage of the landmark Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970."

The book contains 15 articles by a variety of workplace safety experts, first and foremost -- me -- with an article I wrote a few years ago entitled "Acts of God, Acts of Man: The Invisibility of Workplace Death."

But don't stop there. Rory O'Neill, editor of Hazards has an piece on how employers who kill manage to stay out of jail. Gerald Rosner and David Markowitz, who wrote the amazing book Deceit and Denial about the crimes of the lead and vinyl chloride industries, have an article about "Silicosis and the Ongoing Struggle to Protect Workers' Health." And, of course, the threat to worker safety is not just an American phenominon. Hunter College Professor David Kotelchuck and La Guardia Community College professor Joan Greenbaum contribute and piece about "The Campaign to Improve Indoor Air Quality at the City University of New York," and Mogensen adds a piece on the assassination of OSHA's ergonomics standard. And, of course, the attacks on worker safety don't end at our borders. A number of articles discuss problems in other countries, including University of Massachusetts at Lowell Assistant Professor Carlos Eduardo Siqueira's article on "The Sinking of the Neoliberal P-36 Platform in Brazil."

All in all a fascinating read, if I do say so myself.

First review from my son: "Dad, you don't have the longest article, but you have the first one. And no one reads past the first chapter anyway." Well, prove him wrong. But the book and read the whole thing.

Special Offer to Confined Space readers: $24.95 $23.95 $22.00 + 1.50 postage. You can pay using the PayPal button on the upper left-hand corner of this site. (Confirm your address with a follow-up e-mail to If you can't (or don't want to) use PayPal, just e-mail me and we'll make other arrangements.

Full Contents

Introduction,Vernon Mogensen

I. Free-Market Ideology and the Evisceration of Workers' Safety Rights

  1. Acts of God, Acts of Man: The Invisibility of Workplace Death,Jordan Barab
  2. Criminal Neglect: How Dangerous Employers Stay Safe from Prosecution,Rory O'Neill
  3. Regulating Risk at Work: Is Expert Paternalism the Answer to Worker Irrationality? Peter Dorman

II. Old and New Challenges to Occupational Safety and Health in the United States

  1. Silicosis and the Ongoing Struggle to Protect Workers' Health,Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner
  2. How Safe Are U.S. Workplaces for Spanish Speaking Workers? Laura H. Rhodes
  3. Got Air? The Campaign to Improve Indoor Air Quality at the City University of New York,Joan Greenbaum and David Kotelchuck
  4. State or Society? The Rise and Repeal of OSHA's Ergonomics Standard,Vernon Mogensen

III. The Impact of Neoliberalism on Workers' Safety Rights Abroad: Selected Case Studies

  1. The 10 Percenters: Gender, Nationality, and Occupational Health in Canada,Penney Kome
  2. All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: Worker Participation and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation in Ontario, 1970-2000,Robert Storey and Eric Tucker
  3. The Sinking of the Neoliberal P-36 Platform in Brazil, Carlos Eduardo Siqueira and Nadia Haiama-Neurohr
  4. Health and Safety at Work in Russia and Hungary: Illusion and Reality in the Transition Crisis, Michael Haynes and Rumy Husan