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Information about employee safety solutions

10th October 2021 Print

During the 1800s, worker safety existed under different circumstances than it exists today. Years ago, the lack of regulation that often led to an employee's injury, harm, or even death was considered little more than the cost of doing business. Fortunately, in this modern age, safety rules and protocols have bought in a new era for the industry of worker safety.

None of us can imagine a time without limits on working hours or paid vacation time and, while this reality did exist, the lack of proper safety equipment is perhaps more troubling. In this present time, many companies make safety equipment and safe adaptations to machines in their business. Companies like Dynatect Manufacturing Industrial Safety Solutions have helped make our modern factories and warehouses safer places to work.

Working was Hazardous to Your Health

The first mine safety law in the United States, nicknamed the Coal Act, was passed in the late 1960s. This legislation required that mines be inspected twice per year to ensure, among other things, that the mine was structurally secure and at low risk for a cave-in. The act also provided financial compensation for mineworkers who developed severe and sometimes fatal illnesses or injuries on the job. Certain respiratory diseases are much more common in this line of work than in the general population.

Factory work also placed people in equally dangerous situations. While the danger of a cave-in was not something that the average factory worker had to deal with daily, it was indeed a possibility. Loss of digits and limbs was much more familiar with early factory work. The 12-hour workday was commonplace in America's dawn of industrial and factory work. Vacation time and work breaks were practically unheard of during this time. If a worker did become ill, they still had to go to work; otherwise, they would risk losing their job.

Essentially driven by profit and greed, factory owners gave little thought to the safety of their employees. If a worker was injured or killed due to unsafe working conditions, the worker's family had almost no legal recourse against the factory owners. In the rare event that a worker or their family could secure legal representation and file a lawsuit, the employer would often deny all liability and blame the accident on the employee's actions. 

The Railroad expansion across the American West in the mid-1800s was also a relatively dangerous situation for its workers. Not only were there safety issues involved with the actual hammering of the tracks into place but, due to differences in terrain, dangerous explosives were sometimes necessary to blast holes through mountains to place the railroad tracks. Death and dismemberment were everyday risks faced by these workers. 

Child Labor was Common

In these early industrialization days, children were regarded and treated as little more than small adults; they were just paid less money. Each day, children as young as six were subjected to the same brutal, life-threatening conditions that their adult "coworkers" faced. Slips and falls were responsible for a staggering number of accidents with exhausted children working around unsafe, heavy machinery. 

The first legislation ever passed by a governing body to protect children in the workplace was in England in 1819 with the Factory Act. This act made it illegal for factories to employ children below the age of nine. But even still, enforcement of the law was almost nonexistent.

In the United States, it was not until 1938, with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, that any restrictions were placed on child labor. This act required that children working in manufacturing or mining be at least 16. This act also gave some protections for workers in the form of a national minimum wage for the first time. But the country began to address the issue of child labor long before this act was passed. 

In 1904 the Child Labor Committee was formed to urge reforming of child labor practices. This committee was among the first to use photographs of dangerous factory conditions and distribute pamphlets to cause outrage among the general public. While these committees did enjoy some success, it was not until the Great Depression that a clear motive arrived to remove children from dangerous workplace environments. 


The Occupational Safety Health (OSH) Act was signed into law on December 29, 1970, by then-President Richard Nixon. This legislation had support from both parties and directly responded to dangerous working conditions across the country. This law was the result of several years of reform along with gradual changes in public opinion, and one of the first issues taken up by this new law was asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has excellent heat and electrical insulation properties. For this reason, asbestos was used throughout the majority of the 20th century for its fireproofing and flame retardant abilities. It was not until the mid-1970's that the devastating effects of asbestos on human health were widely publicized. As a result of OSHA regulations, strict limits and restrictions have been placed on all new construction after the mid-1970s.

OSHA currently regulates worker safety issues throughout all 50 states, but some areas, like California, have taken matters a step further and instituted their standards. At present, there are 22 states with their worker safety programs. 

The Industrial Revolution was responsible for significantly advancing America's industrial enterprise and strengthening the American economy. This resulted in more jobs and cheaper, mass-produced goods.  It also led to an increase in the standard of living for many people. It also resulted in better educational opportunities for children. Since that time, worker safety has significantly improved due to regulations put into place to make sure that the environment is secure and conducive to the job.

Unfortunately, worker exploitation was also exposed on levels not seen before. Worker safety is taken much more seriously in this day and age. There have been many advancements in this field, with industrial machine guarding to protect operators and wearable technology to reduce accidents. Updated industrial regulations regarding mandatory breaks and vacation time are also helpful in reducing worker fatigue.

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