When TV audiences around the world watched the dramatic rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners in October 2010, they may have found the news uplifting, but for occupational health and safety activists, it was a reminder that work can be a life and death experience. Most mornings, we turn the door handle and set off to work in offices, banks, schools, hospitals, universities, construction sites and other workplaces. Most of us assume that we will return home safely at the end of the working day, but many workers unfortunately will not. In 2014–15, 142 British workers lost their lives through a workplace fatality, and a further 629,000 employees suffered a reportable work-related injury (Health and Safety Executive, 2015). At a different level, unsocial working hours can impact negatively on workers’ health. For example, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union said the Eurostar dispute, which began on 12th August 2016, had been caused by the company’s failure to honour a 2008 agreement to ensure that train managers could expect a good work–life balance in terms of unsocial hours and duty rosters (Topham, 2016). These data and the Eurostar reported dispute underscore two important realities about work: first, it can be an unhealthy, even deadly, experience; and, second, health and safety in the workplace is all too often mismanaged.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
- Employee Health, Safety and Wellness
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number