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Just Can’t Take it Anymore

Jeffrey Syken

In 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, fourteen-thousand Americans died in combat and another forty-six thousand were wounded. That same year, on the home-front, an equal number of Americans died in their workplace/s and two and one-half million suffered disabling injuries resulting from workplace accidents. The time had come to make the workplace safer and healthier for all Americans, not by chance but by the power of law.

After the Civil War, American industry expanded rapidly and by the early 20th century, millions of new immigrants were seeking a better life in the mills, factories, quarries of American industry. For many, the conditions were harsh and dangerous; just as they were for Americans who were native born. The construction of the Panama Canal took the lives of 4,700 people alone. Between 1902 and 1908, nearly fifteen-thousand railroad workers were killed and in a single Pennsylvania county in one year, five hundred and twenty-six workers were killed.

It took calamities like the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory fire in New York City (1911) for action to be taken. Upton Sinclair’s novel: The Jungle, exposed the brutal working conditions in Chicago’s meat packing plants and photographer Lewis Hines’ photographs of child labor aroused the public consciousness. In the post-WWII era of public activism over environmental issues and civil rights, a worker’s rights movement – long in the making, reached critical mass. In response, the federal government formed the Occupational Safety & Heath Administration (OSHA) in 1970 under the auspices of the Department of Labor to safeguard the right of all Americans to a safe and healthful workplace.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.