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History of Work Safety

Date Added: May 14, 2012 10:53:04 AM
Author: Jaguar Tools
Category: Business And Economy
It’s a fact that Industrial workplace will always carry a certain level of risk. However, many jobs throughout American history have had deaths attributable to both employer and employee negligence and unsafe work practices. Advances in technology and changes in workplace procedures have led to an overall decline in the number of employees who are injured or killed at work. Prior to the 1880s, there was little interest in work safety. Many of the improvements in work safety resulted not from the integration of safer work procedures but rather because of advances in technology that lead to safer innovations, such as the movement from more dangerous ladders to safer elevators, according to the Economic History Association. The United States was more dangerous than other countries during the second industrial revolution because America had natural resources, immigrants and space, which made high profits more possible and encouraged labor-saving practices, according to the Economic History Association. Also, the court systems were less likely to hold companies liable for injuries, which removed the consequences of unsafe work conditions. Workers sometimes had responsibility for their injuries between 1890 and 1904. For instance, in the mining industry, miners were paid per ton and many miners were willing to take risks in order to maximize their productivity. However, supervisors were also responsible because it was cheaper to have fewer supervisors for more spread-out miners, according to the Economic History Association. Railroads were more dangerous in the United States between 1889 and 1901 because railroads were poorly built and had bad signal systems. Employers sometimes had to lure workers into jobs that were considered too dangerous, so workers in some of the most dangerous jobs were paid more. Some workers bought accident insurance so that they could receive yearly compensation if they became too injured to work, according to the Economic History Association. These practices became less necessary in 1910 when federal regulations and unions began to improve safety conditions. Developments Developed countries have experienced a large decrease in the number of injuries, primarily because of the majority of workers in these countries moving from more dangerous work such as farming and manufacturing to safer work such as retail and services, according to the Economic History Association. Dangerous jobs have become increasingly safer because of safety precautions, personal protective equipment, Safety gear and safety equipment. The United States, Australia and other western countries saw a significant decline in worker deaths. According to National Safety Council, from 1933 to 1997, worker deaths went from 37 worker deaths per 100,000 to four worker deaths per 100,000 in the US.


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