The historical development of occupational health in Australia: part 1 1788-1970

Smith, Derek R., and Leggat, Peter A. (2004) The historical development of occupational health in Australia: part 1 1788-1970. Journal of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, 26 (4). pp. 431-440.

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Abstract

In 1788 the British Empire established a penal colony in Sydney Cove. By virtue of their unique demographic, the earliest occupations consisted predominately of convict or prison guard. Initial health hazards included disease, traumatic injury and punishment. Free settlement gradually developed throughout the early to mid 1800s, thus offering new forms of employment with their associated risks. The discovery of commercial gold deposits in 1851, led to a large increase in mining as the predominately dangerous occupation of the late 19th century. Early mining hazards included windlass accidents and flooding, and this was later enhanced by toxic chemicals such as arsenic and mercury. Industrial development occurred throughout the 1900s in Australia. This period was accompanied by increasing interest in worker's health, which later resulted in some pioneering epidemiological research. Overall, history has shown that significant lessons can be learned from the development of occupational health in Australia, many of which may help guide policy formation for the new millennium.

Item ID: 6713
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: 1788-1970; Australia; history; occupational health
ISSN: 0387-821X
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2010 23:05
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920504 Occupational Health @ 100%
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