today is usually quite safe. The government has made laws
saying that employers have to look after the workforce and
provide safety equipment and other things for them. At the
start of the Industrial Revolution none of these laws existed
and so working in a factory could prove to be very dangerous
indeed. This section looks at some of the conditions faced
by workers and offers a brief explanation of what was done
to improve these conditions.
such as the cotton trade were particularly hard for workers
to endure long hours of labour. The nature of the work being
done meant that the workplace had to be very hot, steam engines
contributing further to the heat in this and other industries.
Machinery was not always fenced off and workers would be exposed
to the moving parts of the machines whilst they worked. Children
were often employed to move between these dangerous machines
as they were small enough to fit between tightly packed machinery.
This led to them being placed in a great deal of danger and
mortality (death rates) were quite high in factories. Added
to the dangers of the workplace also consider the impact of
the hours worked. It was quite common for workers to work
s or more a day, in the hot and physically exhausting
work places. Exhaustion naturally leads to the worker becoming
sluggish (slow), which again makes the workplace more dangerous.
all factories were as bad as the scenario highlighted above.
Robert owen and Titus salt for example were both regarded
as good employers in this respect. They were amongst a group
of people who were known as reformers. These people wanted
changes to the way that factories were run. They faced opposition
from other mill owners who knew that reforms would cost them
money and give the workers more rights. (They wanted to make
as much profit as possible remember, that is the purpose of
manufacturing in a capitalist country).
reformers gradually managed to force changes to the way that
workers were treated. Some of these reforms are listedbelow.
the hours worked by children to a maximum of 12 per day.
under 9 banned from working in the textiles industry and
10-13 year olds limited to a 48 hour week.
of 12 hours work per day for Women.
of 10 hours work per day for Women and children.
hours worked by Women and children to 10 and a half hours
a day, but not allowed to work before 6am or after 6pm.
worker allowed to work more than 56.5 hours per week.
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