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Just Canít Take it Anymore

J.M. Syken

Course Outline

Through the viewing of several archival/documentary films produced in the 1930s/80s/90s, we will examine the history of the worker’s rights movement leading to the formation of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970.

We will examine the problem of dangerous work conditions starting with the post Civil War industrial expansion and the many dangers faced by workers in various industries such as steelmaking, mining, quarrying, railroads, textile mills etc. As well we will examine the steps taken to resolve these safety/health issues through voluntary action, worker initiatives and pro-active state/federal legislation/action.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for architects, engineers and other design professionals.

Benefit to Attendees

The attendee/s will gain an intimate knowledge and insight into the background, history, development etc. of the worker’s rights movement and establishment of OSHA.

Course Introduction

The course incorporates the viewing of several archival/documentary films broken down as follows;

Part 1 examines the origins and history of dangers to health and safety in the workplace. Part 2 examines the problem of Silicosis as it affected workers involved with breathing fine silica dust and the steps taken to resolve the problem. Part 3 examines the formation of the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration, it’s need, purpose, organization, sister agency (NIOSH) etc. Part 4 examines the various functions of OSHA in the workplace; it’s mandate including providing guidelines, inspections etc.

Course Content

Part 1 – Enough is Enough;
TITLE: Can’t Take No More (1980)
Part 2 – Stamping Out Silicosis;
TITLE: Stop Silicosis (1938)
Part 3 – The OSHA Story;
TITLE: The Story of OSHA (1980)
Part 4 – OSHA on the Job;
TITLE: OSHA at Work (1990)
TITLE: Protecting Workers: How OSHA Conducts Inspections (1994)

Course Summary

When Workman’s Compensation Laws were passed in the early 20th Century, for the first time worker’s had some relief from the devastating result of death and/or injury on the job. However, it limited the worker’s right to sue their employer and the burden of injury was still on the worker since even the Voluntary Safety Movement had the tendency to blame workers for their own injuries. Some injuries were immediate, others took time to develop such as Silicosis and the many forms of cancer related to the workplace (about one-third of cancers are believed to be work-related). It’s every American’s constitutional right to “pursue happiness” – agencies such as OSHA guarantee every American their right to pursue employment in a safe and healthy workplace.

Related Links

For additional technical information related to this subject, please visit the following websites:


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.