HEALTH OF MUNITION WORKERS, GREAT BRITAIN

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  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

    HEALTH OF MUNITION WORKERS, GREAT BRITAINSource: Monthly Review of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vol. 2, No. 5 (MAY, 1916), pp.66-70Published by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of LaborStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41822985 .Accessed: 14/05/2014 08:20

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  • 66 MONTHLY REVIEW OP THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

    HEALTH OF MUNITION WORKERS, GREAT BRITAIN.1

    The health of munition workers committee, which was appointed in September, 1915, " to consider and advise on questions of indus- trial fatigue, hours of labor, and other matters affecting the physi- cal health and physical efficiency of workers in munition factories and workshops," in November and December, 1915, submitted three interim reports on special phases of their work, including Sunday labor, welfare supervision, and industrial canteens. Evidence was taken in London and other important centers from employers, rep- resentatives of workers, and other interested persons, and a large number of factories and workshops situated in different parts of the country was visited by one or more members of the committee.

    It was found that the problem of Sunday labor, as respects muni- tion factories, is primarily a question of the extent to which work- ers actually require weekly or periodic rest if they are to maintain their health and energy over long periods, since intervals of rest are needed to overcome mental as well as physical fatigue. Account was taken not only of the hours of labor, the environment of the work and the physical strain involved, but also the mental fatigue or boredom resulting from continuous attention to work. The great majority of employers seem to object to Sunday labor, declaring that it interferes with proper supervision and imposes a severe strain on the foremen ; that it means high wages often coupled with increased cost of running the works; that it does not always result in a satisfactory individual output ; that it is frequently accompanied by bad timekeeping on other days of the week; and, finally, that there is a considerable feeling that the seventh day as a period of rest is good for body and mind. However, Sunday work has been widely adopted, it is stated, on account of heavy demands for out- put or because employers have been forced into it by a desire of their workpeople to obtain the double, or at least increased, pay. When adopted the hours are often considerably shorter than on other days, overtime is generally dispensed with, Saturday night shifts are frequently abandoned, and Sunday night shifts start at a later hour than usual.

    About 50 orders, covering women, girls, and boys, and another 30 for boys only, have been issued permitting Sunday labor by " pro- tected" persons, i. e., women and young persons under 18 years of age, but in these cases, as a rule, Sunday labor has been sanctioned only when the hours of labor on other days of the week are moderate. Even when Sunday work has been allowed certain restrictions have 1 Great Britain. Ministry of munitions. Health of munition workers committee.

    Memorandum No. 1, Report on Sunday labor; Memorandum No. 2, Welfare supervision; Memorandum No. 3, Report on Industrial canteens. London, 1915. 3 pamps. (20 p.)

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  • MONTHLY BEVIEW OF THE BUREAU'
  • 68 MONTHLY REVIEW OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

    (c) By closing alternately in particular departments. 5. To give another lay oit In plow of Sunday or, fit any rate, to let workers

    on long hours off early on Saturdays or at other times. 6. To increase the employment of relief gangs where this can be satisfactorily

    arranged for, by obtaining either - (a) Relief workers amongst ordinary staff, or (b) Relief week-end shifts of volunteers. While the conclusions of the committee have reference to hours

    of labor of workers, it is urged that foremen and the higher man- agement even more certainly require definite periods of rest. Sum- marizing, the committee says:

    In conclusion the committee desire to emphasize their conviction that some action must be taken in regard to continuous labor and excessive hoursof work if it is desired to secure and maintain, over a long period, the maximum output. To secure any large measure of reform it may be necessary to impose certain restrictions on all controlled establishments, since competition and other causes frequently make it difficult for individual employers to act independently of one another.

    In its study of welfare supervision among munition workers, the committee found that " almost more important than the immediate or technical environment in which work is carried on and the length of hours during which the workers are employed," are four chief in- fluences which affect industrial efficiency, namely, questions of hous- ing, transit, canteen provision, and individual welfare of the em- ployees. The committee suggests that the influx of workers in cer- tain districts has seriously overtaxed housing accommodation; that many workers, because of inability to obtain housing accommodation near the factory, are compelled to travel to and from work, occasion- ing much loss of time ; that the provision of facilities for obtaining a hot meal at the factory is often inadequate, especially for night workers ; and, finally, that without special arrangement by which the management may deal with the numerous problems of labor effi- ciency and the personal welfare of the employees, there can not fail to be diminished output, discontent, and unsmooth working.

    It is stated that welfare supervision has already been undertaken in a number of munition factories and testimony of managers is given commending the services rendered by welfare supervisors. In one factory, where men only are employed, an educated man devotes all his time to matters concerning welfare, in particular supervising safety appliances, organizing first-aid staffs and canteen accommo- dation, and in cases of injury and sickness visiting the workers at their homes. Instances of the successful work of women supervisors are mentioned, and employers stated to the committee that the

    presence of a capable woman of broad sympathies has in itself pro- vided the best and quickest aid to the solution of many of the prob- lems ifffecting women's labor by which they are assailed. The com-

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  • MONTHLY BEVIEW OF THE BUREATE OF (LABOR STATISTICS. 69

    mittee suggests that helpful oversight is especially needed in the case of women and girls if the highest and most enduring efficiency is to be attained, and recommends for this purpose the appointment of a competent woman of experience and sympathy, tactful and sensible in her dealings with others, who should concern herself with the various questions and issues raised in respect of the conduct of forewomen toward women workers, of the character and behavior of fellow women workers, of the maintenance of suitable and suffi- cient sanitary accommodation, of the worker's own state of health, of her capacity to withstand the physical strain and stress of work, and of her power to endure long hours, overtime, or niglitwork. Welfare supervision in factories where not less than 500 men and 100 boys are employed is strongly urged.

    The duties of welfare supervision as outlined by the committee include the following:

    1. To be in close touch with the engagement of new hi hor, or, when desired, to engage the labor.

    2. To keep a register of available houses and lodgings, to inform the manage- ment when housing accommodation is inadequate, and to render assistance to workers seeking accommodation.

    3. To ascertain the means of transit used, and the length of time spent in traveling ; to indicate the need of increased train, tram, or motor service ; or to suggest modification of factory hours to suit existing means of transit.

    4. To advise and assist workers in regard to feeding arrangements; to in- vestigate the need for provision of canteen facilities, or any inadequacy in the provision already made ; and to supervise the management of such canteens.

    5. To investigate records of sickness and broken time arising therefrom ; and in cases of sickness to visit, where desired, the homes of workers.

    6. To investigate and advise in cases of slow and inefficient work or in- capacity arising from conditions of health, fatigue, or physical strain.

    7. To consider, particularly for delicate and young workers, all questions of sanitation and hygiene affecting health and physical efficiency, and to supervise the conditions of nightwork, Sunday work, long hours, and overtime.

    8. To advise on means of recreation and educational work. 9. To investigate complaints and assist in the maintenance of proper discipline

    and good order. 10. To keep in touch with responsible organizations having for their object

    the promotion of the welfare of the worker. Based upon the proposition that productive output in regard to

    quality, amount, and speed is largely dependent upon the physical efficiency and health of the workers, which in turn is dependent upon nutrition, and that a dietary containing a sufficient proportion and quantity of nutritive material, suitably mixed, easily digestible, and obtainable at a reasonable cost is essential, the committee expresses the conviction that "in the highest interest of both employer and worker, proper facilities for adequate feeding arrangements should be available in or near, and should form an integral part of. the equipment of all modern factories and workshops." Many em-

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  • 70 MONTHLY REVIEW OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

    ployers, it is pointed out, have established industrial canteens, and this practice "has abundantly justified itself from a business and commercial point of view," and in the opinion of the committee 44 the time has come for a large extension of this method of solving the problem

    " of supplying suitable food at a low price for large num- bers of persons for specified times. Speaking generally, the accommo- dation provided accords with one or other of the following types :

    (1) An available room for the workers to eat their prepared food; (2) a room furnished with a " hot plate " or " warming cupboard " or provided with hot water; (3) a refreshment barrow to perambulate the workshops at ap- pointed hours (particularly useful for light refreshments during long spells of night shifts) ; (4) a fixed refreshment bar or buffet; (5) a dining room sup- plying cheap hot and cold dinners; and (6) such dining room associated with an institute or club with facilities for rest and recreation.

    In order to insure effective results of the establishment of in- dustrial canteens, certain essential conditions are suggested and out- lined, including accessibility and attractiveness, form, construction, and equipment, food and dietaries with suggested prices, prompt service, convenient hours, methods of payment for meals, and man- agement.

    The report indicates that substantial advantages, both to employers and workers, have followed the establishment of effective and well- managed canteens. Marked improvement in the health and physical condition of workers, a reduction of sickness, less absence and broken time, less tendency to alcoholism, an increased efficiency and output, a saving of time of the workmen, greater contehtment, and better mid-day ventilation of the workshops are some of the benefits noted.

    SOCIAL INSURANCE IN DENMARK.

    According to the Danish statistical office, there was paid out by various elements of the population for social insurance during the years 1910 and 1914 the sum of 13,150,000 crowns ($3,524,200) and 17,500,000 crowns ($4,690,000), respectively. The various items for this and other forms of insurance were as follows:

    INSURANCE PREMIUMS PAID IN DENMARK, 1910, 1914.

    Kinds of insurance. 1910 1914

    Fire insurance $3,634,800 $4,904,400 Life insurance 6, 217, 600 8, 710, 000 Industrial accident insurance ... 1, 661 , 600 2, 211, 000 Sickness insurance 1,331,960 1,742,000 Burial insurance 201 , 000 268, 000 Unemployment insurance 329, 640 469, 000 Marine insurance i 1, 122, 920 1, 809, 000 Live-stock insurance 1, 013, 040 * 1, 340, 000 Hail insurance 32, 160 107, 200 15, 544, 000 21, 560, 600

    1 Not including special war risks. * Estimated. [noo]

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    Article Contentsp. 66p. 67p. 68p. 69p. 70

    Issue Table of ContentsMonthly Review of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vol. 2, No. 5 (MAY, 1916), pp. 1-104THE LONGSHOREMAN [pp. 1-7]CONCILIATION WORK OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, MARCH 16 TO APRIL 15, 1916 [pp. 7-7]FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT WORK OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR [pp. 7-9]WORK OF STATE AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYMENT BUREAUS [pp. 10-13]EMPLOYMENT IN SELECTED INDUSTRIES IN MARCH, 1916 [pp. 13-15]EMPLOYMENT IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK IN MARCH, 1916 [pp. 15-16]REPORT OF THE MAYOR'S COMMITTEE ON UNEMPLOYMENT, NEW YORK CITY [pp. 16-26]REPORT ON UNEMPLOYMENT IN ONTARIO [pp. 26-35]STRIKES AND LOCKOUTS FROM SEPTEMBER, 1915, THROUGH MARCH, 1916 [pp. 35-39]RETAIL PRICES OF FOOD IN THE UNITED STATES [pp. 39-41]LIVING CONDITIONS OF SELF-SUPPORTING WOMEN IN NEW YORK CITY [pp. 41-47]REPORT OF NEW YORK STATE COMMISSION ON VENTILATION [pp. 48-51]RECENT REPORTS RELATING TO WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION AND INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS [pp. 51-62]EMPLOYMENT IN MINES AND QUARRIES IN OHIO, 1914 [pp. 62-65]HEALTH OF MUNITION WORKERS, GREAT BRITAIN [pp. 66-70]SOCIAL INSURANCE IN DENMARK [pp. 70-70]SOCIAL INSURANCE IN GERMANY [pp. 71-78]MINERS' ACCIDENT INSURANCE STATISTICS IN GERMANY, 1914 [pp. 79-82]INTERNATIONAL TRADE-UNION STATISTICS [pp. 82-83]IMMIGRATION IN FEBRUARY, 1916 [pp. 83-84]OFFICIAL REPORTS RELATING TO LABOR [pp. 85-99]PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS RELATING TO LABOR [pp. 100-104]