ERIC Number: ED310890
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Work Disability in Appalachia.
This paper begins by examining the history of disability payments to disabled workers, specifically disability payments to coal workers. Efforts by the United Mine Workers of America made mine health and safety an issue in the 1960s, and continuing liberalization of the law continued through the 1970s. The identification of coal miners with disability is compounded by geographical and cultural barriers. Currently underscoring disability as a social construct among underground miners is the declining regional economy and rising unemployment, brought on by technological improvements in mining. The paper examines research about the effects of early health intervention among underground coal miners and describes other studies of physical disability in Appalachia. All cited research supports the same general finding: disability is part of an Appalachian life pattern, a natural consequence of work occurring before old age. It is common for work to be punctuated with periods of temporary disability and to end in disability retirement. The uncertainty of mining as long-term employment makes benefits such as Social Security and Workers' Compensation a necessary station in the career course. There can be no solution to disability if disability itself is a solution to narrow socioeconomic choices. Only long-term improvements in basic education and the economy would reduce work disability patterns. (TES)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: West Virginia Univ., Morgantown. School of Medicine.