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searching mind. It is looking for causes. It does not limit its field of research, if by so doing it stays its search short of knowing all the factors that may affect the results. This does not mean that in research into lead poisoning one must initiate a housing program. It does mean that if we ignore the influences of the homes we may mistakenly conclude that certain processes are nonhazardous because we may have a large percentage of employees who live under conditions that help to maintain their physical condition and are therefore less susceptible to special hazards.
The reverse may be true. There is a tendency to blame the plant when the substandard home is equally at fault. The high incidence of special diseases in some industrial plants may be due to the low physical resistance of the workers because they are exposed during nonworking hours to slum living conditions. Personal hygiene and certain habits that we associate with predisposing causes are included in our schedules of physical examinations; plant conditions are considered, but living conditions have received only cursory attention. This seems absurd, but it is true. Consequently, the effect of the work environment outside the plant is not emphasized and any interest displayed in the workers' living conditions is on an emotional basis rather than because the managers consider it good business to assist their employees to attain wholesome homes. Unfortunately, this is the least satisfactory basis for sustained, constructive interest. Yet to-day in the United States the health hazards to industrial workers which arise from home environment constitute a major problem. The worker is heavily handicapped, his earning capacity reduced, and the employer unnecessarily burdened with added production costs. There is a trend in our cities toward decentralization, in part induced by tax burdens but largely because the labor supply is substandard. Factories are moving to the country where they can find relief from these cost-increasing factors. Any brief survey of urban conditions is sufficient to demonstrate the prevalence of substandard housing in areas where wage earners live.
The characteristic defects of such areas are conspicuous: Congested buildings, often of the multiple type of occupancy; room overcrowding; a high percentage of families occupying apartments of one and two rooms and often living in basements, cellars, and back-lot houses; insufficient natural light and substandard artificial light; excessive temperatures; inadequate sanitary equipment; insanitary drainage; widespread prevalence of filth both within and without the dwellings; unsafe structures; insufficient play space for children; street hazards; widespread nuisances in the form of defective plumbing, flooded cellars, and damp rooms; general drabness and deterioration of whole neighborhoods which exerts a depressing effect upon the population. Ten per cent of the workers of the country are exposed to some or all of these conditions, nor are they limited to large urban centers. although they are more conspicuous there due to segregation. Even the smaller cities and villages have their areas of substandard dwellings and subnormal living.
It is not true, as some imagine, that the slums house only the day laborer. They provide quarters for the so-called skilled-trades workers as well. Throughout the country, these blighted areas are inducing an irregular manner of living; they are furnishing a large percent
age of the causes for the spread of communicable diseases; are undermining public health; and in a measure are responsible for the accelerated fatality of the degenerative diseases.
The criticism of the existence of such areas can not be refuted on the grounds that the inhabitants are content with their homes. There is no justification for inactivity in the belief that such persons, if given good housing, would continue in the manner of living from which they had been removed. Even if this statement, which is false in 90 per cent of the cases, were true, it would be no answer to the problem presented by these individuals and their homes. Their threat to society alone would justify any amount of attention to housing betterment; but our interest is not in the general menace of existing conditions but rather in their specific handicap to efficient labor, because industry is frequently falsely accused of maintaining hazardous working conditions producing disease and ill-health, when actually the situation is complicated and accentuated by the insanitary state of the homes the workers occupy.
The statistical records prove that occupants of substandard houses and areas show abnormally high morbidity and mortality rates, high percentages of physically unfit workers, many lacking the right mental attitude or intelligence to accomplish the work assigned to them in the plant or to stabilize their employment by continuing their jobs under normal conditions. In times of slack employment, the workers with poor environmental conditions are the first to be laid off, but in times. of normal business they must be employed because they constitute the only extra labor supply available. When employed, they contribute a high rate of absenteeism on account of sickness, and cause a costly labor turnover which affects production costs.
Because of the prevalence of adverse living conditions and their reaction upon the physical and mental health of workers, the industrial hygienist must, if he is to do scientific research, carry his studies beyond the plant boundaries, and furthermore if he is to advise the plant management wisely, he must emphasize the disadvantage of such adverse living conditions to industrial workers. Housing specialists do not characterize bad housing as an exciting cause of disease, but they do emphatically believe that it is a predisposing cause, which is relatively as important in the final physical breakdown as many exciting causes more frequently emphasized.
The object of this analysis of the health of industrial workers is to assure due valuation of the contributing part played by environmental factors on the one hand, and on the other, to call the attention of plant managers to an aspect of their problem which has been generally neglected. Industry is not to be encouraged to finance housing schemes, but it should formulate a program which will assure the elimination of bad environmental conditions for employees.
Industry does not need to build towns or model dwellings for its workers in order to insure adequate standards of living. It can exert its influence on safe, wholesome living conditions by establishing and giving adequate publicity to an employment policy which gives preference to those workers who have shown, or will show, an intelligent self-interest in avoiding the occupancy of substandard dwellings or
Where the supply of sanitary houses is adequate but the business judgment of the worker poor, industry can promote thrift associations such
as building and loan societies to facilitate home ownership; where the supply within the buying or renting ability of its employees is insufficient, industry can, by means well within its sphere of interest, encourage builders to erect new houses, and urge owners to recondition those old houses which are within a reasonable distance from the plant. If the situation is chronic, as it is in large urban centers, plants can be moved to suburban areas or to smaller towns where more normal living conditions will be assured.
It is not our purpose here to outline and define industry's program for adequate housing of employees so much as to indicate that a reasonably selfish interest dictates a recognition of the part played in economic organization by insanitary housing. Good judgment necessitates the inclusion of housing data in analyses of the hazard of industry, and, in the event that a causal relationship is found between environmental conditions and the diseases they are studying, these findings should be emphasized so that plant managers will feel it incumbent upon them to develop a program adequate to meet the situation.
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS AND SAFETY
Safety Code for Transportation in Coal Mines
SAFETY code for coal-mine transportation has been developed
representatives of 11 national organizations and interested bodies, and approved by the American Standards Association. The code has been in preparation since 1924, and during this period five complete drafts were prepared before a code was obtained which was satisfactory to all interests.
Specifications and suggestions are presented covering all phases of coal-mine transportation, underground, above ground at the mine, and on slope or incline into the mine; motor haulage, animal haulage, mechanical haulage, haulage by hand; signals and provisions for safety in construction, trucks, cars, clearances, and loads; and operating rules.
It is recommended that coal-mine operators post in conspicuous places the rules and regulations, schedules of running, warning, signal codes, and safety requirements, so that locomotive drivers, trip riders, hoistmen, and others, may know them, and that every man connected with haulage shall be required to be familiar with the contents of the
Many references are made throughout the text to other safety codes and rules for the coal-mining industry, which contain further details on some of the subjects covered.' These are: Coal-mine tracks, signals, and switches, American tentative standard; safety rules for installing and using electrical equipment in coal mines, American standard; coal-mine ventilation, American Mining Congress recommended practice; wire rope for mines, American tentative standard; rock dusting of coal mines, American recommended practice; and use of explosives in bituminous coal mines, American recommended practice.
Safety Code for Mechanical Refrigeration
NATIONAL safety code for mechanical refrigeration, both comunder the direction of the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers mercial and domestic, has been prepared by a technical committee and has been approved by the American Standards Association. The technical committee, which has been working on the project since 1920, consisted of representatives from 28 national organizations.
The regulations cover the installation, operation, and inspection of refrigerating apparatus used in the manufacture or processing of materials, such as ice-making plants, cold-storage warehouses, ice-cream plants, dairy plants, packing houses, and chemical plants; apparatus used in commercial plants, such as meat markets, florist ings; and cooling or air-conditioning systems of theaters and other shops, and restaurants; apparatus used in multiple residence build
Refrigerating systems are divided into five classes, according to the amount of refrigerant required for operation, class A consisting of systems containing 1,000 pounds or more, and class E of systems containing 6 pounds or less.
The code applies to direct methods of refrigeration, in which the refrigerant is circulated through the system, and to indirect methods, in which brine or water cooled by the refrigerant is circulated through the system.
Several sections are devoted to safety devices, which must be provided in all types of refrigerating devices, and one of the provisions, which permits the installation of multiple systems in apartment houses with adequate safeguards to eliminate possible hazards, ends a controversy of long standing on the subject. A multiple system is a refrigerating system employing the direct method in which the refrigerant is delivered by a pressure-imposing element to two or more separate refrigerators or refrigerated spaces located in rooms of separate tenants.
According to information from the American Standards Association, the code has been adopted in its entirety by several cities, and others are considering its adoption.