Germs at work: establishing tuberculosis as an occupational disease in Britain, c1900-1951

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 1951, tuberculosis was added to the statutory list of prescribed occupational diseases in the UK, giving some workers the right to financial compensation. This article explores the long campaign to define TB as an illness linked to employment, investigating an area neglected in the historiography, whilst contributing to our understanding of the role of trade unions in relation to public health. The evidence examined here suggests a complex and changing picture in which a broadly proactive and dynamic union policy implicated the workplace in the TB epidemic and pressed for preventative measures and compensation. Whilst limited in effectiveness before 1939, this campaign was successful in the 1940s as the medical evidence became clearer, debate narrowed to focus on health workers, the capacity of the trade union movement to influence policy making developed and the Trades Union Congress learnt to strategically marshal medical evidence and engage more effectively with the epidemiology.
LanguageEnglish
Pages812-829
Number of pages18
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Volume25
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jun 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Fingerprint

Labor Unions
Occupational Diseases
Tuberculosis
Historiography
Policy Making
Workplace
Epidemiology
Public Health
Health
Trade Unions
Workers

Keywords

  • medical history
  • tuberculosis
  • occupational disease
  • public health
  • compensation
  • historiography

Cite this

@article{4bd9bb37a8f7411a8568475de86f5dc1,
title = "Germs at work: establishing tuberculosis as an occupational disease in Britain, c1900-1951",
abstract = "In 1951, tuberculosis was added to the statutory list of prescribed occupational diseases in the UK, giving some workers the right to financial compensation. This article explores the long campaign to define TB as an illness linked to employment, investigating an area neglected in the historiography, whilst contributing to our understanding of the role of trade unions in relation to public health. The evidence examined here suggests a complex and changing picture in which a broadly proactive and dynamic union policy implicated the workplace in the TB epidemic and pressed for preventative measures and compensation. Whilst limited in effectiveness before 1939, this campaign was successful in the 1940s as the medical evidence became clearer, debate narrowed to focus on health workers, the capacity of the trade union movement to influence policy making developed and the Trades Union Congress learnt to strategically marshal medical evidence and engage more effectively with the epidemiology.",
keywords = "medical history, tuberculosis, occupational disease, public health, compensation, historiography",
author = "Arthur McIvor",
year = "2012",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1093/shm/hks046",
language = "English",
volume = "25",
pages = "812--829",
journal = "Social History of Medicine",
issn = "0951-631X",
number = "4",

}

Germs at work : establishing tuberculosis as an occupational disease in Britain, c1900-1951. / McIvor, Arthur.

In: Social History of Medicine, Vol. 25, No. 4, 10.2012, p. 812-829.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Germs at work

T2 - Social History of Medicine

AU - McIvor, Arthur

PY - 2012/10

Y1 - 2012/10

N2 - In 1951, tuberculosis was added to the statutory list of prescribed occupational diseases in the UK, giving some workers the right to financial compensation. This article explores the long campaign to define TB as an illness linked to employment, investigating an area neglected in the historiography, whilst contributing to our understanding of the role of trade unions in relation to public health. The evidence examined here suggests a complex and changing picture in which a broadly proactive and dynamic union policy implicated the workplace in the TB epidemic and pressed for preventative measures and compensation. Whilst limited in effectiveness before 1939, this campaign was successful in the 1940s as the medical evidence became clearer, debate narrowed to focus on health workers, the capacity of the trade union movement to influence policy making developed and the Trades Union Congress learnt to strategically marshal medical evidence and engage more effectively with the epidemiology.

AB - In 1951, tuberculosis was added to the statutory list of prescribed occupational diseases in the UK, giving some workers the right to financial compensation. This article explores the long campaign to define TB as an illness linked to employment, investigating an area neglected in the historiography, whilst contributing to our understanding of the role of trade unions in relation to public health. The evidence examined here suggests a complex and changing picture in which a broadly proactive and dynamic union policy implicated the workplace in the TB epidemic and pressed for preventative measures and compensation. Whilst limited in effectiveness before 1939, this campaign was successful in the 1940s as the medical evidence became clearer, debate narrowed to focus on health workers, the capacity of the trade union movement to influence policy making developed and the Trades Union Congress learnt to strategically marshal medical evidence and engage more effectively with the epidemiology.

KW - medical history

KW - tuberculosis

KW - occupational disease

KW - public health

KW - compensation

KW - historiography

U2 - 10.1093/shm/hks046

DO - 10.1093/shm/hks046

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 812

EP - 829

JO - Social History of Medicine

JF - Social History of Medicine

SN - 0951-631X

IS - 4

ER -