Online Program

Review of 20th century occupational health and safety films

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mark D. Catlin, BS BA, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Washington, DC
In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the Occupational Health and Safety Section in 2014, this poster describes a first effort to review occupational health and safety films from the United States, from the 1910s to the 1990s. A few of the fifty films discussed are Crime of Carelessness from 1912, the National Association of Manufacturers' response to the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; the 1938 US Department of Labor film Stop Silicosis; and the 1978 OSHA film More Than A Paycheck with Dr. Irving Selikoff, narrated by John Wayne. Films can be valuable aids in understanding our field's history and the issues facing our profession today. These films were sponsored by American businesses, Federal and State governments, educational institutions, and labor unions. Many were popular and some award-winning in their time, but became lost to our field, especially with the introduction of digital formats in the late 1990s. Most of these films are now available on the Internet. These films represent a unique record of the history of occupational health and safety providing views of industrial production and work operations during the last century; showing hazards and preventive measures and employer attitudes about the causes of injury, illness and death in the workplace. The films are arranged in chronological order, by decade along with a description of the film's sponsor, its content and purpose. In addition, the film's relevance to current issues is discussed along with sources for sources for further reading.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify at least two historical films related to their work in occupational health and safety today

Keyword(s): History, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been researching historic films of our field for the past 10 years and have more than 30 years experience in occupational health and safety.
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.