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World at work: Soldiering
  1. T P Finnegan
  1. Correspondence to:
 Colonel T P Finnegan
 Medical Branch, HQ Land Command, Wilton, Salisbury SP2 0AG, UK;

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Hazards of the job and measures to protect workers

Professional, modern armies have characteristics which set them apart from other occupations. These affect both volunteer and conscripted forces. The soldiers who comprise an army are able to use controlled force in a disciplined way with the accepted understanding that death or injury to themselves, as well as others, may result. This may happen not only during combat but also in situations such as military training, terrorist attacks, and humanitarian operations.


Armies, as institutions, usually have strong concepts of duty to a nation or similar organisation. As such, there is an underlying sense of service and loyalty to the community. There is also tremendous loyalty among members of an army to each other because they must work as a team to survive and be successful.

Armies recruit their soldiers in many ways, which reflect the social and cultural histories of their countries. Currently, there are increasing numbers of females in many modern armies, although not always in the fighting forces. Many armies have a varied ethnic composition. Both gender and ethnicity and the resulting cultural attitudes need to be integrated into a common ethos for an army to function well. …

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