Workplace Injury and Illness Problem During WWII 1941 USPHS

by admin on June 16, 2010

The impact of industrial accidents on war production, with the resultant loss of manpower, produced demands for more current information. In 1942, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics undertook to collect and publish monthly data on injuries in almost 10000 establishments in industries of particular wartime importance. These were used by government agencies to pinpoint the plants and industries with high accident rates. Several special studies were conducted during the war, including an examination of the effect of long work hours on efficiency, output, absenteeism, and accidents. A study of operations at the Frankford Arsenal near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania l in 1941 showed that, when extended hours required exertion beyond the normal physical strength of the workers, there were more accidents, greater spoilage of material, greater turnover, and decidedly less production in the extended hours than in the regular hours. Further studies were made in 1943 and 1944. The Bureau conducted detailed studies of accidents in the foundry, longshoring, and slaughtering and meatpacking industries. The Bureau’s data were made available to the Department’s Labor Standards Division, and to the Maritime Commission for safety drives (from the bulletin The First Hundred Years of the Bureau of Labor Statistics was published by BLS in 1985 and available at www.bls.gov ). In 1944, the War Production Board reported that industrial accidents killed 37600 workers and injured 210000 permanently and

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