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their further use was attached. One owner removed the seal and used the elevator, defying the inspector to force him to provide devices. He was prosecuted and fined $25 and costs. He has appealed his case to a higher court where it is now pending.
Fire Protection. That no terrible holocaust, such as have occasionally been reported from large cities in other parts of the country, has occurred in Minnesota, is not because we have no fire traps. The time, the place and the girls are all here in sufficient numbers. On several occasions fires occurred in places where women were employed, but nearly always at a time when most of them were out of the buildings. We have been lucky rather than prepared.
The bureau is doing practically all that can be done under our inadequate fire egress law to remedy conditions, and has frequently secured more than the letter of the law requires. On the other hand the lack of authority prevents us from securing what experts on the subject regard as adequate protection. Of the 9,853 buildings inspected by the Bureau of Factory Inspection, 1,204 were over two stories high and 128 of these were over five stories high, ranging up to 14 stories. Fire escapes of some kind or other were provided on 893 buildings and 311 had none. Some buildings reported as three stories high are only two stories in the rear and there is some question if an escape can legally be required. In others no employes were on the upper floors at the time of inspection, being used only for storage purposes. In such cases it is also questionable if an order to provide escapes would hold in court. Such places are watched closely to see that the floors above the second are not used as a workroom.
The number and type of fire escapes in use is shown in the following summary. Some buildings have as many as four or five escapes.
Iron stairs, 373; iron ladders, 473; bridges and runways to other buildings, 103; fire and smoke proof towers, 92; wood ladders, 59; wood stairs, 36; iron spiral stairs, 11; automatic rope escapes, 55; knotted ropes, 332; chutes, 1; total, 1,535.
Knotted ropes and automatic "Save-All” escapes have been approved in grain elevators and occasionally in other places where the employes are seldom on the upper floors. The wood ladders are seldom considered as an escape, but when in addition to other escapes were counted. The construction of the building and the absence of women employes also causes the department to consider ladder escapes sufficient in some instances.
Chemical fire extinguishers, standpipes with hose connections, automatic sprinkler systems, or barrels of water were provided in 1,109 buildings, but 95 were reported with no means of extinguishing incipient fires. The openings 'to fire escapes were protected with metal doors or wire glass windows on 197 buildings, but 696 had no such protection where it was needed. A vigorous campaign is now being waged to remedy this condition. Only one egress was reported from 615 buildings, but most of them were one story in height.
Experts who have given study to the subject of safe egress in case of fire are agreed that the provision in our law, which requires external fire escapes on buildings over five stories in height is obsolete and should be replaced by a provision to provide fire-proof and smoke-proof towers. A committee of such experts acting for the National Fire Protective Association have prepared a report on the entire subject of safe egress, taking into consideration thé questions of external escapes, the number, size and construction of inside stairs, the time required to empty a building, the nature of combustibility of the building and contents, and the means of extinguishing fires. The recommendations contained in their report are not too exacting. They are practical and should all be included in the fire protection laws of this state.
The question of cost should no longer deter the state in affording its people adequate protection from fire. We are in hearty accord with the sentiments expressed by the secretary of the National Fire Protective Association in an address on the subject delivered before an organization of employers at Pittsburgh, after the terrible holocaust in the Union. Paper Box Company's plant in that city, when he said: “The property owner's obligation is fundamental. This obligation cannot be hid by defective building codes, indulgent inspection departments or other scapegoats for individual neglect. The man who accepts profits or rents from a business housing working men and women in conditions which may cost them their lives is gambling in human life, and if the game goes against him he should pay to the uttermost farthing of his estate. The common whine made over the bodies of innocent victims that he didn't know the danger of his plant should in the eyes of all honest men constitute his supreme indictment. It is his business to know before he opens his door to unsuspecting human occupancy."
In the last two years the factory inspectors ordered 239 new or additional stairway fire escapes and 182 automatic escapes or knotted ropes in grain elevators. Altogether 829, orders were issued to reduce the hazard from fires. There is, however, much to be done to make conditions safe and a better law is needed to accomplish good results. In particular the department should have some power to prevent a new menace being created by having the authority to approve plans of a building before a business is established in a new building and not be required to wait until the evil is done. There are a few cases arising where some means should be provided that a building that constitutes a serious menace to life could be condemned, as it now can be when it is a menace to surrounding property.
Sanitation and Hygiene. The laws regulating sanitation and ventilation in factories and workshops are also inadequate in many respects to accomplish all that should be done for the health and comfort of the workers. In 1,003 buildings where dust creating machinery was used 286 had no dust collecting or exhaust system. Lighting of workrooms was reported only fair in 622 buildings and bad in 2 of all the buildings inspected. Ventilation was fair in 787 and bad in 9 buildings, and sanitation fair in 2,315 and bad in 33 places. Cuspidors were not provided in 5,682 buildings, and in 2,254 of them it was the regular practice of the employes to expectorate on the floors.
The sanitary condition of the 16,032 toilets in use in all establishments was reported only fair in 2,843, and bad in 126. In 142 establishments no toilets were provided and in 353 there were none separate for women workers. In 25 places the number was inadequate in that they were not provided in the ratio of one for every 25 persons employed. In five cases the average ran over 40 persons and the highest was 52 to a toilet.
Women were reported employed in 2,154 buildings, of which 15 failed to have any seats for their use. In 30 places where seats were provided in accordance with the law the employes reported that the use of them was discouraged by the employer. Dressing rooms were deemed necessary in 621 buildings, but were not provided in 35. First aid supplies to care for the injured where provided in 4,284 of all the establishments visited.
Liability Insurance. To ascertain the extent to which employers were insuring their risks under the compensation law the inspectors were requested to ask if they carried liability insurance. The replies were yes by 3,636 and no by 3,908 firms. In 425 places the person in charge did not know. The other 58 firms were railroad companies who are not effected by the compensation law.
Railroad Inspection. The blocking of switches, frogs and guard rails in railroad yards is done by the railroad inspector of the department in the large cities and
principal terminal points in the state. In the smaller cities and town where only a few side tracks are in use the work is done by the factory inspector on his regular visits to the town. Inspections were made in the yards, of 40 railroad and terminal companies and in private yards of 39 industrial concerns at 924 stations and terminal points. At 396 they were inspected a second and at 41 a third time, making 1,361 inspections in all. The inspectors' reports indicate that conditions in the yards are constantly improving and their recommendations for replacing bad and missing blocks receive prompt attention. The number of switches and crossings inspected and the condition of blocks are shown in the following summary:
The law which requires railroad companies to maintain a standard clearance between passing cars and obstructions on the side of the track also requires the railroad inspector of this department to report any violations thereof to the railroad and warehouse commission. This was done in eleven instances. The department also called the attention of railroad companies to 80 obstructions which were installed prior to the clearance law becoming effective, but which could be removed practically and with little expense. The railroad companies gave their hearty co-operation in having them removed. In several other matters of safety to employes or the general public to which their attention was called the same treatment was accorded.
Creamery Inspections. The arrangement with the Dairy and Food Department by which their creamery inspectors report to this department on the conditions of machinery and other matters over which this department has jurisdiction has continued up to the present time. The creamery inspector makes reports on conditions and also recommendations for improvement. The orders are sent by mail direct from this department. In all there were 459 orders issued in this manner. If not complied with they are checked up by the regular factory inspector.
Reports were received for 497 creameries, of which 105 were inspected a second time in the two years. The number of employes were, men, 853; women, 31; boys under 16, 3; total 887. The following summary of their reports on conditions is herewith presented: Kind of building—Brick, 142; cement, 23; stone, 11; wood, 321. Height of building--One story, 386; two story, 111. Factory laws posted-Yes, 35; no, 462. Machinery guarded—Good, 206; fair, 206; bad, 84; none, 1. Disconnecting or signalling devices used-Yes, 460; no, 36. Lighting of workrooms-Good, 215; fair, 257; bad, 25. Ventilation-Good, 65; fair, 280; bad, 152. Sanitation-Good, 211; fair, 277; bad, 9. Condition of toilets--Good, 341; fair, 36; bad, 1; none, 132; not separate, 8. Stairs railed-Number, 152; yes, 106; no, 46. Elevators guarded—Yes, 16; no, 8.
Barber Shop Inspections. The department continued its practice of inspecting barber shops in the rural communities to assist the examining board of barbers in enforcement of the license law. The inspectors visited 832 shops and revisited 198 in the two years. There were 871 proprietors, of whom 729 had a license, 141 had none and one was not a barber and did not work at the trade. They employed 845 people, of which 3 were boys under 16 years of age. Of these 323 were licensed, 183 had no license, 259 were apprentices, and 80 were porters.
Of the proprietors and journeymen who had no license 33 had made applications; 30 had taken the examination but had not been notified of their standing by the board; 13 claimed their license card was lost or burned in fires, and 6 claimed they had a license at home or somewhere, but it was not posted in the shop. One proprietor was himself an apprentice employing a licensed barber.
A summary of conditions reported is shown in the following:
Complaint Investigations. Special investigations of work places on some specific matter were made in 164 establishments of which the Bureau of Women and Children made 31. Usually the investigation was made on a complaint, but sometimes by request of the employer and again on the initiative of the department. The complaints frequently covered four or five subjects, such as unguarded machinery, inadequate fire protection, insanitary conditions, and others. The total number of matters attended to in this manner was 218. Classified they were as follows: machinery and tools, 46; fire protection, 60; stairs, scaffolds and platforms, '13; ventilation, sanitation, toilets, dressing rooms, excessive heat or cold workrooms, and light, 74; elevators and hoisting apparatus, 6; locked doors, 2; unsafe building, 2; electrical apparatus and transmission, 13; use of guards by employes, 2.
Special Foundry Investigations. A committee representing the molders' unions of the state called at the office of the department to report a number of abuses and practices to which their trade as whole were subjected and requesting aid in remedying conditions. Briefly stated their complaints covered the following points: Many shops were poorly lighted. At pouring time the smoke obstructed the view, the aisles were narrow and filled with material which had caused a number of serious accidents. The methods of heating and the materials used in some processes caused obnoxious gases to fill the workrooms, becoming at times almost unbearable. The heating in some places was inadequate. The molder was required to work in his undershirt and perspired freely and then was required to go out into the cold to get to a toilet. Drinking water is some places was unfit for use and in some places none was furnished. The ventilating systems when provided were often faulty, causing drafts and subjecting the molders to colds. All of the abuses were having a bad effect on the health of the workmen.
The department made a special investigation of 21 of the foundries, sometimes visiting them a number of times during different processes of the work and on several days when the outside atmospheric conditions were different. The inspectors found that much that the molders complained of was true in several of the foundries. The laws of the state gave little opportunity for redress, so a conference was called of foundry owners to confer on the subject. Some of the owners of the worst places were taken on a tour of inspection to the best places to see what could be done if the proper effort was made to remedy conditions. All of them promised to give the complaints their immediate attention, and conditions in some places are now greatly improved. In others the buildings are in such a dilapidated condition, the business has overgrown its present quarters, or some other cause will prevent any material improvement being made until the state board of health or this department is given ample authority and an adequate law to cover the specific conditions peculiar to this and similar industries.
Manual Training Schools. In the course of their visits to the cities and towns of the state the inspectors also inspected the machinery in 35 manual training schools. They found it necessary to issue 190 orders covering danger points that were found unguarded or to improve conditions otherwise in the school workroom. Their visits were always appreciated by the instructors in charge and compliance with recommendations were usually very prompt.
Corn Shredders and Corn Huskers. Inspections are made whenever the department learns of any new model of corn shredding or corn husking machinery being placed on sale by implement dealers in the state. Orders are issued prohibiting its sale until properly guarded. Some manufacturers are now inviting inspection of a working model before they commence its manufacture. In the last two years 29 orders were issued to guard danger points on these machines.
Hours of Labor. The department has always desired to present in its biennial reports statistics on industrial conditions, particularly those which can be used for comparative or argumentative purposes in arranging controversies between employers and employes in industrial disputes. Inquiries are regularly made for statistics on hours of labor and we have endeavored to secure this information, but since 1910 it has been impossible to secure a complete report. The information gathered since then has been published for what it is worth and we give the hours, daily and weekly, worked by those persons employed in the establishments inspected during the past two years. Because the information is not complete an analysis might lead to erroneous conclusions and none is here made. It is interesting, however, to note that the number of women and children who were working in excess of the legal hours has considerably decreased. The number of women working over 60 hours a week was 92 and 27 children were working over 8 hours a day or over 48 hours a week. In the 1914 report the numbers where 470 women and 62 children respectively. The findings of the inspectors for all people employed are shown in Table 3. TABLE 3. HOURS OF LABOR OF EMPLOYES, DAILY AND WEEKLY,
IN ESTABLISHMENTS INSPECTED BY THE
BUREAU OF FACTORY INSPECTION