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Public health is purchasable. Within natural limitations
SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS
THE NEW DIVISION OF INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
NEW YORK, N. Y.
149 CENTRE STREET
JUN 7 1919
Police Commissioner Health Officer of the Port
BOARD OF HEALTH.
JUN -7 1919
Secretary to the 'Board
Bureau of General Administration, Sanitary Bureau
Bureau of Records
.S. S. GOLDWATER, M. D. ARTHUR WOODS ...JOSEPH J. O'CONNELL, M. D.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.
Bureau of Infectious Diseases
Bureau of Hospitals
Bureau of Laboratories
Bureau of Food Inspection
Bureau of Child Hygeine
.S. S. GOLDWATER, M. D. HAVEN EMERSON, M. D. .Director, EUGENE W. SCHEFFER Director, HAVEN EMERSON, M. D. Registrar, Wм. H. GUILFOY, M. D. .Director, J. S. BILLINGS, M. D.
Director, R. J. WILSON, M. D. .Director, Wм. H. PARK, M. D.
. Director, MARION B. MCMILLAN, M. D. Director, S. JOSEPHINE BAKER, M. D. ..Director, CHARLES F. BOLDUAN, M. D.
JUN 7 1919
Department of Health of the City of New York
All communications relating to the publications of the Department of Health should be addressed to the Commissioner of Health, 149 Centre St., N. Y.
Entered as second class matter May 7, 1913, at the post office at New York, N. Y., under the Act of August 24, 1912.
NEW YORK, JANUARY, 1915.
THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS AND OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES.*
THOMAS J. RILEY, Ph.D.
General Secretary, Brooklyn Bureau of Charities.
Industrial Accidents in the United States.
It is difficult to get any accurate information as to the number of persons killed in industrial accidents in the United States within a year. A conservative estimate places the number between 30,000 and 35,000. Statistics in Germany and in England and in certain commonwealths in the United States show that there are about 19 or 20 times as many non-fatal as fatal injuries. If this ratio holds generally in the industries of this country there are between 600,000 and 700,000 industrial accidents, both fatal and non-fatal each year, in the industries of this country among occupied males fifteen years of age and over.
The accident rate among railway employees has been tending downward in the last few years, but in that industry alone nine employees are killed every twenty-four hours, and one employee is injured every eleven minutes. In the coal-mining industry the accident rate is very high. In twenty-two states which give us 98 per cent. of our output of coal one person is killed out of approximately every two hundred employees every year, while the ratio of non-fatal accidents is almost twice as high.
One thing that is especially noteworthy in the social significance of accidents is the age of the men when they are injured. Forty-five per cent. of the men hurt in industrial accidents are under thirty years of age, eighty per cent. are under forty and ninety per cent. under fifty. These accidents, therefore, strike down men at the time of their greatest productivity and, certainly in the case of the men under thirty, at the time when their families, being left probably with young children, would naturally be most dependent.
A man in industry is not more than at his best at forty years of age and yet eighty per cent. of the men who are overtaken by accidents, fatal and nonfatal, in the industries of the country are only forty years of age or under. Industry is therefore doubly wasteful in its accidents. It not only brings distress and suffering to men and their families but it brings these things to men at their most productive age in industry, to men whose present and whose future earning powers were the greatest possible.
Lecture delivered under the auspices of the Bureau of Public Health Education Medical Inspectors of the Department of Health.