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Industrial Chronology of New Jersey.
For the Twelve Months Ending September 30, 1910.
The series of tables which follow contain a record of occurrences affecting the interests of labor and industry throughout the State, covering a period of twelve months. The compilation includes first: "Accidents to workmen while on duty”; second, “Closing up, or temporary suspension of work in manufacturing plants"; third, "Changes in working hours and wages”; fourth, “New manufacturing plants erected and old ones enlarged; fifth, “Manufacturing plants destroyed or damaged by fire or flood”; and sixth, “Organization of new trade and labor unions.”
The accidents to workmen are subdivided into six groupsviz.: “Factory and workshop operatives"; "buildings and construction workmen"; "transportation employees"; "tunnelmen, miners, and excavators"; "linemen and other electrical workers"; and "unclassified" workers, which includes persons engaged in a wide range of occupations not classifiable under either of the five definite headings. The accidents are divided into two classes—those that resulted in major or serious injuries, and those that resulted in minor, or comparatively trifling injuries. A complete list of serious accidents is given on the table with as many essential details relating to each case as the restricted space will allow. Formerly the practice has been to make each serious accident the subject of a brief descriptive note setting forth the circumstances under which it occurred, thus affording the investigator some material for determining whether or not they were preventable, and if so, what means should be employed to guard against their recurrence. For the purpose of reducing the cost of printing, these notes were excluded from the report of 1909 by order of the official supervisor, and the discussion of employers liability, now one of the most serious of the economic problems engaging the minds of law makers and people throughout the entire country, is deprived of the suggestive assistance that might have been derived from their contents. However, the textual notes have been prepared as usual, and although not printed, any further information desired relating to the cases appearing on the table will be furnished on application to the Bureau.
The table of minor injuries gives for each of the six subdivisions of occupation referred to above, simply the number who suffered from them grouped together according to the general bodily location of the injury.
Strikes and lockouts is the only subdivision of the Industrial Chronology that appears in both textual and tabular form. Each particular strike is noted briefly or more extensively as their importance seem to demand.
The tables follow in numerical order, each prefaced by a brief review of its contents.
TABLE No. I.
ACCIDENTS TO WORKMEN WHILE ON Duty.
The accidents from which this table is compiled are, as before explained, all of a character that resulted either in death, permanent disability, or injury serious enough to render those who suffered them incapable of following their usual occupations for a time not less than one month. The main table in which the names of all who were injured are entered in chronological order, according to occupational classifications, is preceded by one summary of all major injuries, and another in which these are again subdivided into six occupational groups, showing the number that suffered each particularly designated form of injury.
The accidents resulting in minor injuries of which there was a total of 905, are divided among the industrial classifications as follows:
350 157 124
Factories and workshops.
Classified according to the character of the injury suffered, it is shown that 212 were external injuries to the body; 186 affected the head; 154 involved the hands; 109 the legs and hips; 77 the feet; 51 the back; 34 the arms; 23 were internal, and 59 were of various kinds not accurately defined in the reports relating to them.
Industrial accidents are a matter of careful record in almost every State in the union, and in the principal European countries, and practically everyone concerned in their compilation agree as to the apparent impossibility of finding a satisfactory definition of the term "serious" as applied to industrial accidents, or drawing a just and fair line of separation between those that should be classified respectively as “major" and “minor." The dangers latent in what appear to be trifling injuries when received, are not apparent to the layman, and quite often not even to the physician or surgeon. Under these circumstances the best that can be done is to observe the rule followed here and elsewhere by all associated with this form of statistical presentation, which is to classify as “major” or serious, all injuries that, when they occur, have obviously disabled the sufferers for life, or rendered them incapable of following their regular occupations for one or more months. All injuries of less seriousness are classed as "minor," although doubtless a very large proportion of them ultimately turn out to be quite serious, as for instance where slight bruises or abrasions of the skin develope into blood poisoning which furnishes an item of considerable magnitude in the list of serious injuries.
The following table contains a summary of all major accidents reported for all industrial classifications.
General Summary of Accidents to Workmen. Including Persons Injured
Under All Industrial Classifications.
11 37 10
RESULTS OF ACCIDENTS.
2 13 28
As shown by the above table, the total number of workmen injured seriously or slightly while in the performance of their duties during the twelve months was 1,875; of these 970, or 51.7 per cent. of the total number, are classed as “major," and 905, or 48.3 per cent. as "minor" injuries. Besides the three hundred and sixty, or 37.1 per cent of the “major" injuries which resulted in death, four men suffered the loss of both legs; two of both feet; two of a leg and an arm; 20 of one leg; 9 of one arm; 6 of one foot; 11 of one hand; and 37 of one or more fingers.
Ten suffered total or partial destruction of eyesight; 41 from fracture of the skull; 12 had both legs broken; 2, both arms broken; and 71 one leg broken; 9 one leg and one arm broken; and 43 had one arm broken.
Reviewing the table in detail any further would be simply a repetition of the headings and figures thereon, without adding anything to their impressiveness. The strict care exercised in excluding from the compilation every mishap of a trifling nature, of which many hundreds were reported, is shown by the grim fact that 360, or 37.1 per cent of the injuries classed as serious, resulted in death, and that these 360 fatalities are equal to 19.2 per cent. of all accidents—serious and non-serious, that appear in the compilation.
The number of fatalities for the year 1909 was 327; the increase in 1910 is therefore 33, or a fraction more than 10
Of the accidents terminating fatally, 70 or 19.4 per cent. occurred in factories and workshops; 45, or 12.5 per cent. in building and construction trades; 124, or 34.5 per cent. in transportation service; 9, or 2.5 per cent. among linemen, and other electrical workers; and 48, or 13.1 per cent. among workmen in unclassified occupations.
Considering the number of accidents, serious and minor, reported by each of the six classifications, the following division is shown: Factories and workshops, 644, or 34.3 per cent; building and construction, 323, or 17.2 per cent; transportation, 365, or 19.4 per cent; tunnelmen, miners and excavators, 170, or 9. I per cent; linemen and other electrical workers, 59, or 3.1 per cent; and unclassified occupations, 317, or 16.9 per cent. As shown by these figures, by far the largest number of casualties—serious and minor, occurred among factories and workshop operatives, who in this State are almost, if not quite, equal in number to all other occupations combined; but this particular class of labor enjoys special protection from the State, which is not extended to more hazardous occupations, and its proportion of the total number of accidents that terminated fatally, is also shown to be second only to that reported for transportation employes.
For several years back tunnelmen, miners, and excavators paid the heaviest toll of accidental injury and death; three quarters of the total number of these casualties occurred in the railroad tunnels and open cuts through the Bergen hills, west of Jersey City. This work, at least the most dangerous part of it, blasting and cutting through the rock, was practically completed before the beginning of the twelve months covered by this year's record of accidents, and so the toll of workmens' lives and limbs paid by that industry is, happily much below that of previous years. The number of workmen killed while on duty last year was 327. The number reported for this year is already stated to be 360, an increase of 33, or practically 10 per cent.
The summaries of accidental injuries for each of the six industry classifications, follow in their regular order.
SUMMARY No. 1.-Factory and Workshop Operatives.
RESULTS OF ACCIDENTS.