Evolution of Occupational Health & Safety
Globally, health and safety are getting better every year, with a steady decline in the number of fatalities and injuries. The implementation of the Health and Safety at Work Act worldwide is one example of recent modifications. However, corporations didn’t consistently place a high focus on health and safety.
When did the concept of occupational health and safety start to be actively considered, and how far has it come since then?
Prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1760, most people made a living through agriculture or by producing and distributing goods out of their homes. Britain was the first country in Europe and the US to start advancing more towards a culture based on mass production and the factory system, pursued by other areas of Europe.
Individuals came to the capitals in search of jobs since there were more possibilities in the brand-new mills and plants. Poor pay, dangerous working conditions in factories, and an increase in child labour were caused by the large number of individuals seeking employment and the demand for inexpensive labour. Many people lost their lives at work because of the long hours and hazardous working conditions.
For kids who started working at age 4 and even sometimes for more than 12 hours a day, the workplace was especially hazardous. Many people were habituated to climbing underneath equipment, which frequently resulted in limb amputation, whereas others were squashed, and some were even beheaded.
Girls who worked in spark manufacturers could frequently get unambiguous jaws from exposure to phosphate vapours, youngsters who worked in crystal industries would frequently burn and go blind, and those who worked in bricks were at risk of being exposed to toxic mud particles. Lack of health and safety also caused a large number of youngsters to contract occupational diseases like lung cancer and pass away by turning 25. Check out our, Occupational health & safety software.
The Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802, sometimes known as the Factory Act, was introduced by factory manager Sir Robert Peel in response to complaints about the circumstances of child workers.
Every textile plant and industry that employed 20 or more workers, or 3 or even more trainees, was subject to the Factory Act, which mandated that production plants:
-Include enough skylights and ventilated systems
-Must cleansed with quicklime and water at least 2 times per year.
-Reduce the number of time trainees can labour every day to no and over 12 hours
(excluding time taken for breaks)
-Prohibit trainees from labouring at night between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
-Equip each trainee with appropriate clothes and resting arrangements.
-Teach the teachings of Christianity to trainees while teaching them to read, write, and do math.
The Factory Act is largely considered to be the start of health and safety legislation, despite being restricted to a tiny fraction of the workforce and having little implementation. The “Ten Hours Movement” was started by employees who were dissatisfied with working more than 12 hours a day in a factory. As a result of collective influence, the Factory Act of 1833 was passed.
The Legislation expanded the twelve-hour restriction on employment to all youngsters and covered mills that produced woollen and linens. The advent of industrial inspections, however, was arguably the most significant advance. The investigators were allowed entry to the mills and were permitted to interrogate employees.
Their primary responsibility was to protect minor employees from harm and work overload, but they were also able to create new rules and legislation to ensure that the Factories Act could be properly implemented. Even though there were just four examiners assigned to the nation’s 3,000 textile factories, they had an impact on future regulations pertaining to equipment guarding and accident reporting. In 1986, there were 35 inspectors due to a rise in public concern for employees’ wellbeing, which was motivated in part by well-known authors like Charles Dickens.
Also expanding to include the majority of workplaces was the variety of settings they may join. Once his boss, Thomas Fowler, overloaded a cart on May 30th, 1835, it split and crashed, injuring Charles Priestley, who also sustained a fractured leg, a fractured elbow, and other wounds. Priestly paid £50 to stay at a neighbouring inn for nineteen weeks while he recovered (a considerable amount at the time). Priestly filed a claim for damages against Fowler in connection with the incident, making it the first known instance of an employee suing an employer for harm sustained at work. In a significant case that reinforced the premise that companies had a responsibility of care to their workers, the court gave Priestley £100.
A review of the decision, however, determined that the employer is not obligated to provide a worker with better safety regulations than he provides for oneself. During the course of the following 36 years, numerous legislations were passed that strengthened security for women and children. A 56-hour labour week has been established
for women and children, and forced labour was no longer used to wash and repair mobile equipment. Try out our occupational health & safety system.
Women and children were also prohibited from operating in deep mines. The Company’s Liability Act gave workers the right to pursue payment for damages brought on by another employee’s carelessness in an effort to remedy the notion of Common Jobs that had been created during Priestly v. Fowler.
According to the statute, any employee, or members of his family, are entitled to compensation for harm or death brought on by a flaw in equipment or machinery or by the carelessness of someone in a position of responsibility over the employee. Affected parties are no longer needed to show who caused their injuries under the Workmen’s Compensation Act of 1987; rather, they must only demonstrate that they happened at employment.