How factories were made safe
No one considered it the job of management to provide a safe working environment. This made sense in a shop where workers used hand tools, but not in an industrial factory, where one worker's actions could endanger others. Fatal accidents happened when someone started up a machine not knowing that a repairman was working on it, or when a worker started a car along the rails not realizing that someone was underneath it. The fundamental conclusion of the report was that in the prevention of accidents, whether directly attributable to the employer or not, "The will of the employer is pre-eminently important." Work accidents should not be attributed to "Carelessness," but to the lack of safety provisions, inspections, warning systems, and training, and also to the long hours and great speed demanded of the workers. The old law didn't give them enough liability, enough of the time, and made it too difficult for workers to seek redress. There is a traditional anti-capitalist narrative of industrial history that goes like this: In the early Industrial Revolution, greedy capitalists who put profits over people exploited powerless workers-even women and children-by making them work long hours at arduous jobs in dim, dirty, smelly, dangerous factories. Reformers gave workers the 40-hour week, eliminated child labor, and brought safety and hygiene to factories.