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Occupational health education in the United Kingdom workplace: looking backwards and going forwards? The Industrial Health Education Society at work 1922-40.
  1. A Watterson
  1. Department of Adult Education, University of Southampton.


    Education on occupational medicine is a neglected area in the United Kingdom in terms of resources and staffing. Education on occupational health and safety is even more neglected and education in the workplace on occupational health is most neglected of all. 1944 saw the demise of the Industrial Health Education Society. This society had been established with the explicit aims of educating and informing ordinary shopfloor workers about occupational hazards and how to deal with them. The emphasis was almost exclusively on occupational health and not occupational safety. In this and indeed in several other respects the society was unique. The society functioned effectively between 1924 and 1940. Large numbers of doctors were recruited to give their time and services free to the IHES by talking to workers on occupational health topics. In this manner the society succeeded in attracting many thousands of workers to its meetings and worked without openly alienating employers, trade unions, the government, or the medical profession--a remarkable feat of diplomacy. The strengths and weaknesses of the society are charted as are the themes and issues still relevant in the 1990s. Progress in the 1980s is assessed against the background of the IHES achievements.

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