1st Edition

Home-based Work in Victorian Britain Insights for Contemporary Occupational Health and Safety

By Gillian Joseph Copyright 2024
    98 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Home- based work has increased in recent decades and intensified as a result of policies created to control the spread of COVID-19, creating a labour market in rapid transition. Yet little attention has been paid to the issues associated with occupational health and safety or to how employers will monitor and maintain employee health and safety in a home- based work environment. Using historical case studies from Victorian Britain, this book reflects on the past to examine resurfacing health and safety concerns that shaped, and continue to shape, the home- based working experience.

    Anchored by family research case studies, this book presents documents and newspaper accounts about the diverse experiences of three real people who lived and worked from their homes in the Victorian era. Supported by academic and popular literature on work and policy about the era, the book discusses changing worldviews and social context that shaped occupational health and safety at the time and critiques the outcomes of policies that were challenged to address these risks. The case study experiences are used as a touchstone between the past and present to draw parallels between important health and safety concerns that may be resurfacing in our modern post-COVID transition to home-based work.

    This book will be a valuable resource for researchers, academics and postgraduate students of occupational health and safety, occupational science, labour history and human resource management, as well as Victorian studies. It will also be of interest to policymakers and practitioners working across the fields of workplace and occupational health and safety.


    Blossom Wigdor

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Family-based research and the challenge of critical subjectivities

    Chapter 3: Intersectionality

    Chapter 4: Case Study 1

    Chapter 5: Case Study 2

    Chapter 6: Case Study 3

    Chapter 7: What can we learn from the past?


    Gillian Joseph is a Canadian, former academic and a professional researcher, as well as an author and editor of a number of academic papers, book chapters and books on topics associated with work and well- being. Trained as a social gerontologist, Gillian was formerly a research associate at the Centre for Families, Work and Well- Being at the University of Guelph, an instructor of family studies who developed and taught courses at several universities including the University of Guelph and the University of Guelph- Humber, and the Director of her own research support company, Clear Pane Research Services, which she has led for over 14 years. Both independently and in partnership with other academics, Gillian has worked on research projects funded by government agencies and private organizations, published in academic journals, and edited and contributed to books on topics associated with work, risk and well- being as applied to both organizations and employees. With a focus on employees, her research and publications have spanned the topics of telework, the physical and mental health risks associated with human resource work, paid and unpaid care work, precarious work, risk factors associated with negative outcomes among employed family caregivers, employed family caregivers who use employment as respite and the risks associated with frontline long- term professional care work in bad winter weather. Gillian has also written about organizational policy including healthcare restructuring, organizational pandemic planning, economic healthcare accounting systems, policies affecting long- term care work as well as writing about organizational and employee risks associated with compassionate care policy.