238589 Broadening the constitutency for OHS; it must be done, but how?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beth Rosenberg, ScD MPH , Dept. of Public Health and Family Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Michael B. Lax, MD MPH , Family Medicine SUNY Upstate Medical University, Central New York Occupational Health Clinical Center, Syracuse, NY
Craig Slatin, ScD, MPH , Department of Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA

This panel will discuss strategies to expand the constituency for occupational health and safety, because without them , OHS has no future. Since the industrial revolution, we are cursed with a production system that harms workers, the public and the planet. We document the myriad ways that work hurts and that business is destructive, as well as a few examples that the harm has been mitigated. We try to organize and serve the most harmed members of society and we hope that demonstrating health inequities in our system will spur a humane response. We try getting LEED to incorporate OHS, we explore shareholder initiatives, but these are not getting to the root of the problem, which is that working people don't have power, and the middle class and professionals don't see themselves as workers. We need a movement that appeals to a broad constituency to make work more humane and to change the production system to one that is not destructive but sustainable. This panel will be a discussion – audience participation is most welcome, but rants, no. Strategies, yes.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Formulate strategies for broadening the constituency of OHS. Evaluate potential effectiveness of those strategies. Identify what has not worked, and why.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Labor

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Beth Rosenberg has been in the field since 1985, when she conducted “right to know” sessions in Massachusetts workplaces. While getting her doctorate in Work Environment Policy at UMass Lowell, and as a faculty member in the subsequent 14 years in the Public Health Program at Tufts University School of Medicine, her focus has been on the social determinants of health, and how social change happens. She has been pondering strategies for reversing exploitive working conditions for much of this time, and would like to use this forum to discuss some new possibilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.