« AnteriorContinuar »
in processes which cause displacement and unemployment, the effects on women of migrations and consolidations of industries, the preventable causes of physical deterioration. A report on women's employment in the spray enameling of stoves will shortly be ready for the press.
Approved standards, State laws, and actual conditions in industry are being studied in the cases of drinking facilities (available as Bulletin 87), toilet facilities, lighting, heating and ventilation, the prevention of fire hazards, and other employment conditions.
ON FEBRUARY 23, 1931, Congress passed an act relating to the United States Housing Corporation, providing as follows:
That the directors of the United States Housing Corporation of New York and the United States Housing Corporation of Pennsylvania may, with the approval of the Secretary of Labor, appoint the chief clerk, or other officer of the Department of Labor, to act as their president, or as their immediate representative in charge of administrative work, such departmental officer to serve without compensation in addition to the salary of his official position, and the directors of these corporations may in like manner designate the disbursing clerk for the Department of Labor to act in a similar capacity for the corporations, and after such designation has been made all funds coming into the hands of said disbursing clerk shall be treated as funds of the United States to be accounted for under his official bond.
The Secretary of Labor proceeded to carry out all of the provisions of this act by effecting the reorganization of the corporation. He approved the selection made by the board of directors of the United States Housing Corporation of New York and the United States Housing Corporation of Pennsylvania of the Solicitor of the Department of Labor to serve as president and the disbursing clerk of the department to act in a similar capacity for the corporations. By consolidating positions, by centralizing in the Washington office the major portion of the work previously performed in the field, by curtailing office space and utilizing existing facilities of the Department of Labor in connection with the work of the corporation, he was able to set up an efficient organization at a cost of approximately 3 per cent of the annual collections of the outstanding balances of purchase moneys due the Government, and thereby effected a reduction of $33,950 in the operating expenses of the corporation for the coming fiscal year.
The collections made by the corporation on account of sales of properties in 25 widely scattered housing projects for the last six months of the past fiscal year totaled the sum of $206,216.89, which was covered into the Treasury of the United States, without deduction, as miscellaneous receipts of the Government.
IN CLOSING his report the Secretary said, in part:
We have ample resources, but the question is how to apply the same to meet these changing evolutions in our economic and social life. At the same time we feel sympathetic with the world, and in these days of depression it is our belief that improvement in our own country will make for improvement in other countries which are our neighbors and who feel the effects of many of the same circumstances which affect us here.
As Secretary of Labor it shall be my aim to strive to cope with these problems in a broad, liberal way, feeling, as a representative of our Government, that it is the will of our people to steadfastly cling to our code of peace and prosperity for all, and tolerance and good will for the peoples of the world.
Handbook of Labor Statistics, 1931 Edition
HE third handbook of labor statistics prepared by the Bureau of
bureau. This 1931 edition follows the same general lines as the former handbooks and supplements them by presenting a digest of the material published during the two years since the 1929 volume was prepared.
References to the former handbooks are given where the earlier material seemed still to be of particular value, but no attempt was made to compile a complete series of cross references, and a reader who is interested in a particular topic should consult all three handbooks. Thus used, the three volumes constitute, it is believed, a convenient abbreviation of most of the published work of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The material published in the present volume, as in the earlier handbooks, represents in large part the original work of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but this is not entirely the case, as the bureau does not attempt to cover certain fields of interest to labor which already are covered adequately by other official agencies. The bureau does, however, endeavor to follow in the Monthly Labor Review such of the activities of other agencies, both official and nonofficial, as have a labor interest, and in the preparation of the 1931 handbook has drawn upon their work.
The scope of, and the limitations upon, the labor statistics available for the United States are indicated quite clearly by the contents of these handbooks. Certain subjects of primary importance are covered with reasonable adequacy by various official agencies, but other subjects of possibly equal interest are covered very inadequately. These deficiencies are due principally to the insufficiency of resources on the part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other agencies. The collection of satisfactory labor statistics is a difficult and costly matter in a territory as large as the United States and one with such divergent characteristics. Nevertheless, in recent years there has been a marked improvement in all phases of this work, largely due to increased cooperation on the part of employers, employees, and the various public and private organizations.
1931 Meeting of Personnel Research Federation
HE Personnel Research Federation held its tenth annual meeting in New York City on November 12 and 13, 1931. The federation is composed of business and manufacturing firms, national associations, labor organizations, Government bureaus, research and social agencies, and educational institutions, for the furtherance of research activities in the personnel field.
Employment problems and plans for occupational readjustment of those whose jobs are apparently permanently lost occupied most of the sessions. The effort of New York State to establish a model employment office was outlined by officials of the experimental office in Rochester, who set forth the purpose, plan, and methods of that office.
Experiments under way in Minnesota, through the University of Minnesota Employment Stabilization Research Institute, were reported upon, showing particularly what the institute is trying to do in the way of guidance and readjustment for unemployed individuals. While this is a measure of emergency relief, it is primarily a psychological approach to a determination of the basis of selection which operates when workers must be let out. To that end the institute is attempting a similar concurrent psychological study of the workers retained in employment.
Papers presented included an interesting report on the experiment which a large industrial establishment is making to rehabilitate and reassign its own employees injured in industrial or public accidents and to retain them within the plant. Comparative records of work, attendance, efficiency, and accidents of the physically fit and the physically impaired, working in teams, were presented, which tended to show that within the fields open to them, handicapped workers make as good work records as their normal colleagues.
The director of the Vocational Survey Commission of the New York Board of Education gave a report of progress on the work of adapting vocational training methods to modern processes and manufacturing conditions.
HEALTH AND INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
Work Environment as a Factor in the General Health of Workers1 By BERNARD J. NEWMAN, DIRECTOR, PHILADELPHIA HOUSING ASSOCIATION 'N DISCUSSING the influence of work environment on the health of industrial workers, we are concerned primarily with the predisposing causes of disease; not with the exciting causes. Adverse work environment, including bad housing, is not, of course, a disease in itself. One can not subject it to microscopic examination and isolate a pathogenic bacillus to which a name may be given. It can not be subjected to laboratory analysis to determine its chemical constituency, nor can one so label it in the nomenclature of causes of death that the physician may incorporate it on his death certificate. Nevertheless, this does not minimize the importance of the problem since the predisposing causes of which it is one are often as great a menace as the organisms of disease, or the industrial poisons that destroy cell life and inhibit the normal functioning of the body organs.
To the industrial hygienist this may seem trite. Gifted with an inquisitive mind, he seeks and finds causes for industrial diseases not only in the chemical and physical properties of the elements and compounds handled in industrial processes but also in the faulty hygiene of the worker and of the work place. That he can reduce the frequency and severity of industrial diseases through improved plant practices demonstrates that often the serious aspects of such operations are not the materials themselves so much as the way they are handled. Some processes are always potential hazards, but by means of plant or personal hygiene the danger from them may be reduced or eliminated. If the hygienist limited his research to the demonstration of a specific compound as the exciting cause of an industrial disease, very little progress in the maintenance of industrial health would be made. Because health research in industry recognizes the part played by working conditions and the work habits of the industrial worker, and institutes plant improvement programs directed against them, progress in industrial health has been rapid.
Out of such recognition of working conditions as causal factors in industrial sickness have come definite programs to eliminate defects in plant sanitation, faulty illumination, excessive temperatures, insufficient or excessive humidity, excessive noise, monotonous or heavy labor responsible for excessive fatigue, overcrowding of workrooms, and faulty employment practices that create irritating human relationships and wrong mental attitudes among workers toward plant management.
Thus, from the known hazard attendant on the use in the plant of poisonous compounds, designated here as the exciting causes, and the known influence of adverse plant conditions, designated here as contributing causes, the hygienist is able to develop a preventive program which reduces the incidence of industrial diseases. The question here is, Does he go far enough in determining all the factors that affect the health of the worker and so influence his efficiency as a producer?
1 Reprinted from American Journal of Public Health, December, 1931.
The primary function of the hygienist, whether in research or counsel to the plant management, is to evaluate every major factor that has a bearing on the health of the worker or that increases his susceptibility to disease whether of a communicable, degenerative, or industrial nature. Only as his analysis is comprehensive can he state specifically the responsibility of any set of causes. This is not an academic judgment, since the comprehensiveness of his knowledge and the programs based upon it affect alike the practicality of the measures he recommends to the plant and the thoroughness of the protection he gives to the worker. Moreover, in so far as he tries to approach his problem as a scientist, he must include in his research every major field influencing the health of the workers. The line of demarcation of his analysis can not scientifically be the plant boundary; it must necessarily be advanced beyond this to include the home environment of the worker and the factors there which have a tendency to lower body resistance or increase susceptibility to any disease.
This is conspicuously exemplified in the study of fatigue. The predisposing causes recognized by the hygienist as being associated with certain plant processes or conditions which induce excessive fatigue are not always of plant origin. Indeed, much of the so-called "industrial fatigue" does not arise within the plant, though often so credited, but is a compound of plant activities and home or other environmental conditions which deny to the worker adequate rest. Thus, overcrowded neighborhoods, congested sleeping quarters, poor ventilation with excessive temperatures, all tend to prevent normal rest and deny the recuperation which should follow a day's toil. There is thus produced a cumulative effect from industrial fatigue and disturbed rest which leaves the worker more susceptible to adverse working conditions and processes.
Other nonhygienic home conditions produce results similar to those associated with adverse plant conditions. Moreover, the deenergizing effect of depressive environment has many physical and mental complications which can not be overlooked. Needless to say, any program for the maintenance of industrial health which concentrates on environment within the plant, and disregards the homes of workers outside, renders the employer a restricted and oftentimes misleading service. It can not but dub the hygienist as a pseudoscientist.
To anyone with only a casual knowledge of the housing field these comments may seem unwarranted strictures. It may be alleged that the industrial worker's home is the same type as the average home of the community, and thus its defects should be the concern of the public health department. It may be claimed that lack of a pure water supply, of sanitary equipment or of sanitary sewage and waste disposal, overcrowding, abnormal or subnormal temperatures in certain types of homes, caches of filth and vermin, are the community's obligation, with industry absolved from all responsibility except as its managers are citizens. The industrial hygienist may likewise believe his responsibility is only social and not professional-although his greater knowledge of the consequences of insanitary conditions should make this interest somewhat keener-and that his sphere of research is restricted to the determination of plant health hazards.
To one who has specialized in both housing and industrial hygiene this attitude seems grossly unscientific. The scientific mind is the