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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: In the preface, Kaj Frick indicates that this book describes and analyzes the changing nature of the OHS risks and the mechanisms supporting them. The book also touches upon how new structures of production affect various actors' (health proponents') capacity to promote prevention.
Purpose: The book uses three perspectives that should be considered during the emergence of a new epidemic: a) biological and biopsychological methods; b) psychosocial risk factors; and c) socio-political explanations. Much of the thrust of this book is to challenge existing models for dealing with such epidemics. While some might dismiss the issue of model as superfluous, it is quite important. Leigh's argument about old diseases remaining endemic is focused by the choice of model. Further chapters struggle with important topics such as adolescent and even child labor.
Audience: The prime audience for this book consists of individuals studying and practicing epidemiology and public health. Arguably, it may become as valuable to social scientists as to other public health professionals.
Features: Twelve chapters span a wide range of OHS issues, including the interrelationships between precarious employment and poorer safety, health and safety problems associated with child and adolescent labor, the incidence and severity of occupational violence and bullying, the disease consequences of exposure to hazards with very long latency (e.g., mesothelioma), the effects of stress, and the role of best-practice models in prevention.
Assessment: In its attempt to assemble events in occupational health and safety with a view toward the future, this book joins publications such as Markowitz and Rossner's Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution (University of California Press, 2002), Epstein's Cancer-Gate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War (Baywood Publishing, 2005), and even Beaglehole and Bonita's Public Health at the Crossroads: Achievements and Prospects, 2nd edition (Cambridge University Press, 2004). It is well reasoned, perhaps providing a realistic view of the future. Reading this book provides a distant, pleasant, reminder of time spent studying key sociocultural and political causes important to understanding health deficits. My advice is to read the conclusions chapter (12) first and then sample the rest of the book.