New Hazards in the Workplace
Hidden Menace From Toxic Substances
If statistics on job-connected injury, illness and death could tell the whole story, there would be rejoicing in the American workplace. The latest government figures, considered alone, would indicate that the problem was lessening (see table, p. 954). Unfortunately, statistics do not tell the whole story. Concern for job safety actually has increased, and for good reason.
In addition to the usual kinds of injuries or fatalities caused by falls, fires and machinery, an ominous succession of new hazards have come to light in recent years and months. Toxic substances associated with work and either imperceptible to the worker or ignored by him have been taking a terrible toll, sometimes not until years after exposure. These newer forms of occupational hazards are the byproducts of technological advance and are far more difficult to overcome than the older and more obvious kinds.
The severity of much occupational illness, which may strike robust workers in their prime years, adds an element of tragic drama to the situation. In addition, each new revelation of a hitherto-unsuspected health hazard arouses fear that there may be other harmful substances, as yet undetected.