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Occupational Health Discourses about the Role of Power in Work Equity


Occupational Health Discourses about the Role of Power in Work Equity 
MPI: Rachael Jones, PhD, CIH (UCLA) and Emily Ahonen, PhD (Utah) 
Project Years: 4-5
Project Description: Occupational health, as a field, has been characterized by the joint efforts of specialized professionals (industrial hygiene, occupational medicine, etc.) who largely employ a biomedical model, focused on the biological and physical causes of work-related injury, illness, and death. There is change underway, however. Not only is work now recognized as a social determinant of health that can create and sustain inequity, but TWH has advanced the idea that policies, programs, and practices affecting work can benefit or harm workers’ safety, health, and well-being. These new frameworks have introduced new terms, concepts, methods, and perspectives to bear on how occupational health discusses and describes work equity. The aim of this study is to characterize occupational health discourses about power in work equity. This study hypothesizes that occupational health has developed a series of discourses about the causes of disparities in exposures, hazards, and health outcomes among workers that implicitly reflect manifestations of power, but rarely use the term power; and that these discourses have changed over time.