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poration, Ltd., in which the evidence introduced at the morning hearing before the committee of arbitration showed that the employee was clearly not entitled to compensation. A trip down the harbor, in a tug furnished at the request of the insurer by the employing corporation, and a visit to fellow employees working on several dredgers, proved the truth of the employee's claim, and compensation was accordingly awarded.
Average Weekly Wages of Employee who worked only a Short Time. — In Regan v. Travelers Insurance Company the average weekly wages of the employee were determined by obtaining a statement of the wages earned by a fellow employee, equally competent, who was “employed by the same employer, in the same grade." This was necessary on account of the shortness of time during which the claimant had been working for her employer.
No Right to deduct Additional Compensation. - In Nichols v. London Guarantee and Accident Company, Ltd., it was held that the insurer did not have the right to deduct from the compensation due the widow the additional compensation paid the employee before death on account of the “loss by severance” of a finger.
The Board recommends that the Legislature authorize the publication of the cases passed upon by committees of arbitration, the Industrial Accident Board and the Supreme Judicial Court, during the year ending June 30, 1913, as a public document.
1 Appealed to Supreme Judicial Court.
SAFETY AND HEALTH PROMOTION. Safety and health for the wage earner means steady support for his family, education for his children and comforts that the family would otherwise be deprived of or never know.
New conditions have arisen in the industrial life of America, conditions that make for progress and a better understanding between employee and employer. We are learning that we are our brother's keeper in more ways than one. The Industrial Accident Board has found that under the Workmen's Compensation Act employers are as anxious to see that their employees receive all the benefits that they are entitled to as are the workmen themselves.
The truth of the often-quoted saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure ” is being established by those industries that have established well-organized and systematic campaigns of safety, thus doing remarkable service in the conservation of the human life. The last five years have seen some notable improvement and development along these lines. It is not the intention to place any grievous burden on employers in asking them to comply with safety and health requirements. In many, if not in most, cases safety devices can be largely made in the workshop of the employer or by a carpenter or a sheet-iron worker, while improved health conditions mean a better and a larger output for the employer. The expense is hardly to be thought of when the results to be obtained are considered. Safety and health of his employees mean for the employer the continuous service of trained employees, thus preventing waste of material and a shortage in output. In every instance where it has been faithfully tried, the employers would never consent to return to their old-time methods, where carelessness, improper conditions, unguarded machinery, poor light, poor ventilation and poor sanitary conditions all spelled waste with capital letters.
By the reduction in the number of accidents and a lessening of their severity, hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance premiums, now paid because of present conditions, will be
saved; just as fire insurance premiums are most materially reduced for those who take steps to safeguard against fire.
Nearly one-half of the money now spent for workmen's compensation insurance can be saved to the employers, while the wage earners will save the loss of the half-wages they now lose when under compensation, for they will not be injured and will therefore keep at work continuously instead of suffering pain personally, and their families privation, if not actual want. Through this saving, other and material benefits will accrue to the employees.
The present source of social waste runs into enormous figures. It is estimated, by those who have made a study of industrial accidents, that 50 per cent. or more of such accidents are preventable; 25 per cent., judging from experience in those great workshops where this matter has been given most serious attention, can be prevented by the adoption of safety devices; from 25 to 40 per cent. can be eliminated by educational work, instilling the safety idea into the minds of the workers and, in fact, of all the people in this Commonwealth.
Taking up the matter of accident prevention, let us see what this would mean to Massachusetts if this 50 per cent. of waste could be eliminated. There were 474 deaths from industrial accidents during the year beginning with July 1, 1912, and ending on June 30, 1913. During the same period there were 89,694 accidents reported to the Industrial Accident Board. There were 10,568 accidents which resulted in the laying up of the worker for a period of from two to four weeks. There were 10,540 accidents which resulted in laying up the worker through total incapacity during a period of from four weeks to six months. If one-half these accidents were preventable, nearly 250 lives might have been saved and the wage earners in 250 families would still be at work providing for those dependent upon them, while an army of employees would have been kept at work all the time instead of being laid up and entirely or partially incapacitated through accidents that were preventable. There were 165,255 weeks' work lost during that year and 3,855 persons were constantly disabled during that entire period.
Under the Workmen's Compensation Act practically $1,677,380.82 was paid out during the first year for compensation and medical attendance under this act. It is estimated that the cost of insurance under the act during this same period was $4,000,000. If the compensation and medical treatment alone could have been reduced 50 per cent. $838,690.41 would have been saved to the employers of Massachusetts.
Turning for a moment to the subject of occupational diseases. Dusty trades, industrial poisons and occupational diseases are responsible for an annual loss in the United States of $750,000,000 through needless diseases and disablement, and Massachusetts has her proportion of this enormous waste. The great majority of wage earners spend at least one-third of every twenty-four hours in the factory, mill or shop. Conditions in many of them are such that the worker is unable to attain fullest efficiency by reason of the conditions which surround him, and this has a direct bearing upon the number of accidents or the quantity of the output per worker. All this imposes an additional burden on the taxpayer, and increased expenditures in our cities and towns in the departments of health, charity, education and police. It has a direct bearing upon the cost of production, and it vitally affects the pocketbook nerve of the employer through high insurance premium rates under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and through a diminished output and a lack of efficiency, due to unsanitary conditions, overcrowded and ill-planned workshops and a lowering of the vitality of the workers, so that they are incapable of producing the best results, thus limiting the output and increasing its cost.
As an example of what can be accomplished by means of accident prevention through the adoption of safety devices and the formation of safety organizations in shops and industrial hygiene, may be cited the results obtained by the United States Steel Corporation, which was the leader in this great work in this country. During the past five years the United States Steel Corporation has been doing a wonderful work along safety lines. It has to-day 8,000 men at work alive and well, who, under the conditions which existed six years ago, would have been dead and buried. In this work the employees have had a prominent part, and by interesting them and assigning to them duties and responsibilities in the accident prevention movement their active co-operation has been secured. The North Western Railroad, which was the pioneer of safety work along railroads, is saving $817 per day as the result of their safety work, at a cost not exceeding $100 a day; and this is based on conditions which existed prior to the time when this safety work was first taken up.
Mr. Arthur Williams, President of the American Museum of Safety, in a recent address, stated that the necessity of such educational methods would be understood when it is learned that from 70 to 90 per cent. of the accidents result from the carelessness of persons injured. Ignorance, he declared, was responsible for a large proportion of industrial diseases and contagious epidemics. As an exhibit of a safety campaign conducted by the museum, Mr. Williams cited an instance of a manufacturing establishment in which 8,000 danger spots were removed in twelve months and 4,000 more found that will be removed. It is to Mr. Williams' knowledge that 7,000 human beings are alive today, as a result of safety improvements, that would not have been alive if safety conditions existing three years ago had been continued. Accidents kill 75,000 persons annually and maim 3,000,000 others in the United States, and the toll of casualties is in excess of the results of wars.
These figures of a single year of peaceful industry are staggering, and give us just cause to inquire why we should be so far behind in conserving the life and health of the industrial worker.
The Commonwealth has, through its General Court, passed legislation that will bring these conditions to an end. In order to do so effectively and without the employment of harsh methods, Massachusetts depends upon the hearty and loyal cooperation of both employers and employees. A careless employer or a careless workman is to a certain extent an enemy to the community and to society. The man who willfully touches a match to destroy his place of employment by fire, whether he be employer or employee, is recognized as such by all. An employer who refuses to reasonably safeguard the life and limbs of his employees, or compels them to work under unsanitary and unhealthful conditions, will also be so recog