Few industries have undergone such a dramatic and sweeping change in the course of its history than that of manufacturing. Fortunately, long gone are the days when work accidents involved children getting caught up in machinery.
Production floors these days are covered in the very latest glitzy gadgets and magical machinery but, as the following timeline shows, this wasn’t always the case.
A short history of work accidents
With conveyor belts and mass production techniques lying way off in the future, most of the work in these days was done by skilled craftsmen who dedicated hours and hours to perfecting their designs and products.
While the results may have been charmingly unique, the time taken was nothing short of painstaking.
Though the chances of accidents at work were perhaps lower, the consequences of workplace injuries and incidents were probably considerably more serious given the lack of protective clothing etc.
It was around this time when the factory system began to develop. The arrival of machines powered by water and steam helped both ease the workload and spread the potential client base and despite the fact that serious health and safety policies a were a mere dot on the horizon, work accidents were still commonplace.
The early 1900s
It was the early part of the 20th century and the second Industrial Revolution that really laid the foundations for the factory environment we see today.
Electrification of the factories became widespread throughout the United Kingdom as mechanised tools began to take over the production floor and the speed of the work increased dramatically.
Over in the United States, Henry Ford was sharing his Model-T car and visionary mass-production techniques with the world.
It was this period that laid the foundations for the stringent safety procedures that apply in factories today in order to prevent serious injuries at work.
The modern day
Factories today are home to all manner of expensive and potentially dangerous equipment. An awful lot of accidents at work occur as a result of malfunctioning machinery.
Further workplace injuries in the factory can occur from manual tasks, particularly heavy lifting. Contemporary factories limit the need for this whenever possible and the relevant staff are all given training.
One thing factory workers didn’t have in the beginning was an expert firm to help with work accident claims, something modern workers do, Accident Advice Helpline.
Date Published: November 1, 2013
Author: David Brown