How Britain created safer workplaces is the theme of a fascinating website which traces the history of occupational safety and health over the past two centuries.
The History of Occupational Safety and Health site examines the steps legislators have taken to reduce the risk of accidents and ill health at work.
This maps developments from the Factory Act of 1802 right up to the modern day, with new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) legislation’s.
It was only in Victorian times that lawmakers acted on the risks of overworking, the History of Occupational Safety and Health site reveals.
A law was passed ensuring that bosses should not work women, or children from 13 to 18 years old, more than 63 hours every week in their factories.
The birth of compensation claims
The website also tells how injured employees suffering accidents at work were finally given access to make compensation claims.
The National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC) and Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) created the industrial history site.
In the short time it has been live, it has quickly established itself as a “go-to” place for safety professionals, academics and students.
Health and safety expert Teresa Budworth says the site illustrates how far Britain has come in developing good practices down the years.
She says the site keeps one eye on the present with a look at how modern-day safety professionals keep tabs on massive companies. But it also looks at the pioneers who first inspected female-dominated factories.
Work accident prevention ‘not new’
Accident at work prevention is nothing new, according to RoSPA’s Karen McDonnell.
The Society’s health policy and occupational safety advisor says that health and safety management did not just spring up in the 2000s. She says its origins can be traced back to the start of the 1800s.
Ms McDonnell says this digital window on the past works on two levels.
She says it honours the campaign’s trailblazers. But it also helps people to gain a perspective about today’s requirements to ensure that preventable workplace risks continue to be combated at home and abroad, she says.
Date Published: February 12, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown