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Work, Worklessness, and the Political Economy of Health$
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Clare Bambra

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588299.001.0001

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Health hazards in the physical work environment

Health hazards in the physical work environment

(p.47) Chapter 3 Health hazards in the physical work environment
Work, Worklessness, and the Political Economy of Health

Clare Bambra

Oxford University Press

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

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