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January 1989, Vol. 112, No. 1
Profiles in safety and health: occupational risks of meatpacking
M. Personick and K. Taylor-Shirley
As in Housman's day, some still point to "luck and chance" as culturally acceptable explanations of accidents. But, few view injuries and illnesses in the workplace in that way-namely, as inevitably beyond human control and influence. Unlike "natural" disasters, most types of industrial accidents and occupational diseases now are considered preventable through classroom and on-the-job training and by following safety and health standards and procedures prescribed by government, industry, and labor. Safeguards on machines and equipment, for example, and scientifically established limits on exposure levels for hazardous substances, when implemented, have helped to control the proliferation of accidents and disease in the workplace.
Despite these improvements, a 1986 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found some 3,600 work-related fatalities and 5.6 million occupational injuries and illnesses among the 83 million private sector workers covered by the survey. Fully one-third of the injuries and illnesses occurred in manufacturing industries a sector employing slightly more than one-fifth of the survey's total work force. This article covering the meatpacking industry is the first in a BLS series focusing on specific industries experiencing a high incidence of injuries and illnesses.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 1989 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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