'Dust To dust': oral testimonies of asbestos-related disease on Clydeside, c. 1930 to the present

Ronald Johnston, Arthur McIvor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article investigates the personal experience of occupational disease in the industrial conurbation of Clydeside, as recounted by interviews with 31 asbestos-disease victims. We examine exposure to asbestos in the workplace and the prevailing 'machismo' work culture of the shipyards and building sites in which high levels of danger were accepted as part of the 'natural order' of things. The final section discusses the impact of occupational disease on people's lives. The oral testimony for Scotland further demonstrates the irresponsible behaviour of the industry and, importantly, the limited effectiveness of the legislation which failed to protect workers from danger prior to the 1970s. There was a wide gap between legal requirements and regulations, and actual workplace practice. Oral history also illuminates the contested and often painful struggles over compensation and the way in which industrial disability seriously prescribed lifestyles, invariably led directly to social exclusion and how people coped with trauma and premature death.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOral History
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2001

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occupational disease
testimony
workplace
work culture
Disease
present
oral history
trauma
exclusion
disability
legislation
death
worker
regulation
industry
interview
experience

Keywords

  • social history
  • asbestos
  • disability
  • occupational health

Cite this

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title = "'Dust To dust': oral testimonies of asbestos-related disease on Clydeside, c. 1930 to the present",
abstract = "This article investigates the personal experience of occupational disease in the industrial conurbation of Clydeside, as recounted by interviews with 31 asbestos-disease victims. We examine exposure to asbestos in the workplace and the prevailing 'machismo' work culture of the shipyards and building sites in which high levels of danger were accepted as part of the 'natural order' of things. The final section discusses the impact of occupational disease on people's lives. The oral testimony for Scotland further demonstrates the irresponsible behaviour of the industry and, importantly, the limited effectiveness of the legislation which failed to protect workers from danger prior to the 1970s. There was a wide gap between legal requirements and regulations, and actual workplace practice. Oral history also illuminates the contested and often painful struggles over compensation and the way in which industrial disability seriously prescribed lifestyles, invariably led directly to social exclusion and how people coped with trauma and premature death.",
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author = "Ronald Johnston and Arthur McIvor",
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'Dust To dust': oral testimonies of asbestos-related disease on Clydeside, c. 1930 to the present. / Johnston, Ronald; McIvor, Arthur.

In: Oral History, 01.10.2001.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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