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Title: Occupational health and safety in the Scottish steel industry, c.1930-1988 : the road to 'its own wee empire'
Author: Bradley , David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 7877
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2012
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Occupational health history is becoming an increasingly vibrant field of study, and this thesis will contribute to this subject by analysing one of the major industries in the twentieth-century Scottish economy. The history of the Scottish steel industry has been relatively neglected since its radical contraction in the 1980s and early 1990s, and this thesis adds to the attempts to address this. Utilising a number of sources, including trade union papers and oral testimony, this thesis engages with health and safety concepts pertaining to work in the steel industry. Significantly, it has been discovered that cultures of health and safety among workers were established relatively early on. It will be seen that the levels of commitment to industry-specific health and safety standards on the part of workers and trade unions, and employers and management, varied. This will then link in to the significance of government legislation in the 1970s. While employer initiatives of the privatised era were geared towards improving the workplace - such as the Craig War Memorial Home - they were highly localised in character. This lack of an 'across the board' experience therefore makes the health and safety legislation of the 1970s all the more significant. An attempt to assess the extent to which regulation of health and safety in the workplace had distinctively 'Scottish' features has also been made, and it will be seen that the locations of the Scottish plants and the changing nature of ownership of the industry had their own parts to play in the development of work culture. Moreover, it will be demonstrated that a stoic, fatalistic work culture was prevalent in the industry, and that a 'machismo' element was often absent. These themes, it will be seen, combined to create an atmosphere in which workers and, indeed, management - many of whom were drawn from local communities - were receptive to improvements in occupational health and safety practices. Despite varied experiences across plants and sectors of the steel industry, health and safety has become of increasing importance to the entirety of the workforce. The result of this is that procedures have developed from being left largely to 2 individual discretion, to the point where work in steel is dictated by the likely impact of tasks on oneself and others. It is now 'its own wee empire.' 3
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available