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A survey of industrial health-hazards and occupational diseases in Ohio online

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follow instructions. The rotation of workers is another admirable
means of meeting the situation, but this cannot be intelligently con-
trolled without periodic medical examinations.

There are some further health-hasards in industries, some of
which we will briefly mention. Working in COMPRESSED AIR,
that is, in caissons, is one of these. So far as we know, very little work
of this character was performed in the State during the course of our

Fig. 31. The Meltzer Artificial Respiration Apparatus.

Face mask method. A well-fitting face mask may be used instead of the
pharyngeal tube shown in figure 3. M., mask; Infl., inflation tube for inflating
rubber ring around rim of mask; R. V., respiratory valve; S. V., safety valve.
Insufflation pressure provided by oxygen tank. Heavy weights should be placed
upon the abdomen. The pressure may be reinforced by a belt, or a belt press-
ing downward on a broad board may replace the weight. The belt alone is
insufficient. The tongue should be pulled well forward by means of a proper
tongue forceps.

survey. Suffice it to say that in bridge-building, tunneling, (partic-
ularly under water), and sometimes in the -construction of buildings,
it is necessary that the work be done under compressed-air. On the
top, or in connection 'with all such caissons within which men have
to work, should be provided air-locks within which workmen should
be required to spend from 15 to 30 minutes at the close of each work
period in order to undergo depression before coming out into the


normal air-pressure, and thus prevent the formation of air bubbles
(air emboH) within the blood vessels, which, being carried to the
vital organs, particularly the lungs, spinal cord and the brain, pro-
duce the symptoms' called "the chokes", "the bends" and "the stag-
gers". Such symptoms often result fatally, sometimes within a few

To a certain extent FOUL ODORS may be considered health-
hazards, because of the nauseating effect which they tend to produce.

Fig. 32. Sanitary Drinking Fountains.

Plenty of good water, properly cooled, in the workplace tends to limit
alcoholism outside of the workplace.

Nausea is usually accompanied by an excessive secretion of gastric
juice, which, in time, if continued, produces mucous gastritis. The
condition especially invites alcoholism, but even by itself would result
in emaciation and debility through loss of appetite and of the digestive
powers. However, this is one subject in which the personal factor
is uppermost. What is nauseating to one may prove quite inoffensive
to another. To this question of odors, workers will usually select
themselves of their own accord, before any material damage is done
4 o; D.


to the system. In this connection we would mention especially the
furnace odors' so frequently complained of by workers around oil-
blast furnaces, particularly when these are being started up as in
the early morning of each day. For these persons, proper ventila-
tion is essential.

Oftentimes indoor closets are installed in workrooms, without
proper ventilation arrangements, perhaps only partially partitioned
off with no ceiling over the same, so that odors escape and permeate
the w^orkroom. Some of the loudest complaints of the work people
have been in connection with this type of an indoor closet. If much
used, it is a constant source of irritation to the workers and produc-
tive of much bad feeling towards managements.

The acquisition of VENEREAL DISEASES through industry
is possible through the common handling or mouthing of articles;
through a lack of supervision where both sexes work together; and,
through the unmind fulness of employers of generally immoral sur-
roundings, such, for instance, as are created by questionable pictures,
"wall waitings',, loose language, etc.

The subject of ALCOHOLISAI, as an industrial health-hazard,
both as cause, and effect, has been discussed in an early part of
this section under the head of "Stimulantism."



The plan has been to make a hygienic survey of the principal
manufacturing industries of the state. An idea of their type, extent
and number of persons concerned can be obtained from the U. S.
Census of Manufactures. Such a classification, however, is not
well adapted to a hygienic survey, since a great mass of wage-earners
may be employed in comparatively non-hazardous callings. Hence
it is more proper to speak of health-hazardous processes than health-
hazardous industries.

For our purposes, industries have been divided into six classes as
follows :

( I ) Those using poisons as a chief hazard.

(2) Dusty industries.

(3) Those in which fatigue and inactivity are the chief hazards.
^4) Those in which heat, cold, moisture, or dampness predom-

(5) Those in which there is a more than usual liability to con-
tracting communicable diseases.

(6) Industries having miscellaneous hazards not included above.
About half of the wage-earners of the state in manufacturing

pursuits have been included in the industries investigated. In some
instances strikes and business depressions interfered with the survey
in certain lines of industry, but. outside of coal mining, not to any
extent. The survey has not included non-manufacturing pursuits,
such as general construction work, mercantile and trade pursuits,
transportation, agricultural, animal, forestry and personal service
pursuits, and those callings which engage professional, semi-profes-
sional and clerical persons. There are a number of manufacturing
industries and processes, of course, which the survey was unable to
get to because of limitations in time and funds, but those described
constitute the principal ones and represent the vast majority of wage-
earners. In this Part, then, are described, in a general way. the in-
dustries investigated, and the extent to which they have been sur-
veyed, as well as the types of health-hazardous processes found to
exist in them. The description of these processes will be taken up in
the next Part. It will be seen that irrespective of the number of in-
dustries and the number of trades, health-hazardous processes are


- - - 52

comparatively few in number. From a hygienic part of view, many
trades and callings are so similar that they can be grouped together
under one common head. Any peculiarities, due to certain trades or
operations, are described when they occur.

A large class of wage-earners are simply doing factory work.
Such have been classified under the head of "factory processes" in the
next Part. Except for dexterity, which experience develops, all
such work is unskilled labor. This is the most convenient heading
under which to describe the hazards of many processes which in-
volve routine machine operations and hand work, such as assembling,
inspecting and finishing of products. Every survey has a limit to
the fine subdivisions into which it may go. It was the intent orig-
inally to make investigations which would cover i/ioth of the wage-
earners in each particular industry, guided, of course, by the relative
hazards of such industries. Later, this was reduced to i/5th of
the total wage-earners, as given in the U. S. Census of Manufactures
for the State of Ohio (1910). It will be seen, however, that in
many instances the survey has considerably passed this mark, even to
the extent of reporting upon more places and more workers than the
census figures give for the totals. In all cases our figures are limited
strictly to the wage-earners, and do not concern office and managerial

To make the survey representative and fair, the aim has been
to investigate large, medium sized and small plants in all industries
reported upon, and to carry the investigation of each industry into
small cities, and even villages, in dififerent parts of the state, as well
as to include the large cities.

To anyone who has perused the previous sections of this report
(Parts I, II, and III), it Avill be seen that any establishment employing
workers at regular applications is certain to have some health-hazard-
ous situations, even though naught but general factory processes are
engaged in. The question with the survey has been the methods used,
if any, to circumvent all such hazards to health. The prime object
of the survey has been to lay bare the industrial conditions which
are inducing or promoting the preventable and degenerative diseases
pointed out in the tables given in Part II and Part VI.

Almost invariably our representatives, after presenting their cre-
dentials at the various establishments have been most courteously
received. It is only fair to state that managements not only tolerated
our investigations, but in 95% of instances, at least, did everything
in their power to enable us to get at the facts, often at considerable
inconvenience to themselves and the loss of valuable time, Our


investigators always came unannounced. Itineraries were so arranged
that none knew where nor when these inspections would be made.
Hence conditions were seen as they really were, in, we believe, all
instances. It is necessary to say that in many places certain hygienic
improvements were under contemplation, or under way at the time
of investigations, so that any subsequent survey would probably find
them better. Unquestionably, in many instances our own investiga-
tions, without necessarily intending to do so, initiated hygienic im-

The investigators, unless upon special missions, inspected all
plants from basement to loft, where wage-earners were employed,
inquired freely, into the nature of processes, and endeavored to get
at all facts which had any bearing upon the health of the wage-
earners, both good and bad. For each plant a summarized report
was made, covering the following features : character of business,
total employes, total wage-earners (males; females; youths, i6 to 20;
and minors under 16), trade processes,, mechanical health appliances,
health instructions and placards, benefit organizations covering sick-
nesses, pensions and death, general sanitation features covering toilets,
washing facilities, shower baths, time allowance for washing, change
rooms, lockers, clothing and by whom' supplied, rest rooms for fe-
males, luncheon quarters, seasonal influences, welfare work outside
of the factory, and the general appearance and contentment of the
workers. (For the hygienic features of special processes see Part V.)

In connection with some of the industries, here described, are
various vital statistics which have been available. Only such have
been used whose source is authentic, and then only such figures as
are large enough to mean something. One fault which oftentimes
employers, as well as others, fall into is that of quoting a few in-
stances, and attempting to draw general conclusions therefrom. For
instance, it may be shown that in a given process ^4 oi the workers
have remained so engaged for years without apparent health effect.
The fallacy lies in not being able to state what has happened to the
other 34 of the wage-earners who have been employed. Instances are
known where, of 10 persons employed, 2 have remained steadily, while
in the course of a year's time, 50 different individuals worked in the
remaining 8 places, nearly all leaving because of health complaints.

An especial appeal is made to employers to keep sick records.
We are glad to say that this is now done by some of the most pro-
gressive establishments. Such records should include, not only ab-
sences due to sickness, but all health complaints reported to foreman
or others, not only concerning the work, but of any or every nature.


Employers are not hygienists nor physicians as a rule, and if they
attempt to judge upon the relationship between these complaints and
work they make mistakes. It is only natural, also, that certain fea-
tures bearing upon the conservation of public health should escape the
notice of the layman, or appear too trivial to warrant attention. Right
here is where an establishment would be immensely benefitted through
the services of a good physician. The physician could, at intervals,
go over the records of absences, sicknesses, and health complaints,
and suggest many remedies. In all processes involving the handling
of poisons, and in trades in which the known death rate from pre-
ventable diseases is high, especial attention should be given, such as
a physical examination at the time of employment, and a health
inquiry at intervals thereafter. In poisonous industries, for instance,
a five minute health inquiry, by a physician, of each worker about
once a month would be all that is usually necessary. Furthermore,
the physician is a very good person through whom to get to the em-
ployes. His services, although only occasionally employed, would
be of immense help to the employer, not only in the supervision of
the health of his employes, but in instilling the principles of personal
hygiene among them, and in overcoming indififerences to efforts which
employers and others may make in this direction. There is no sadder
picture than the employer whose welfare efforts have been un-
appreciated, misunderstood, and, perhaps, scoffed at by his employes,
until he has dropped his well-meaning intentions, locked up his shower
baths, speeded up his machinery, and, perhaps, lengthened the work-
day. The reason for this is that along with every improvement must
go education. Education in industrial hygiene is a part of the re-
sponsibility of the employer. There is no better man to help him out
in this situation than the occasional services of a physician who is
well respected in the community.


Industry. — Any single branch of productive activity; as. the iron
industr)^ the soap industry, etc.

Establishment. — A place of business with its buildings, grounds,
equipments a:nd personnel.

Plant. — Same as "establishment".

Place. — In Parts IV. and V. this word is used very often and
is a shorter term for the word "establishment".

Departfitent. — Branch of an establishment, especially when such
is located in quarters by itself; as, painting and varnishing depart-
ment, foundry department, etc.


Process.- — Particular trade, calling" or manipulation; as, painting
process, pickling process, etc.

An indtisiKy is represented by many establishments (plants or
places), each of which has several departments, while in each de-
partment there may be one or several trade processes, each engaging a
number of zvage-eariiers. Wage-earners engaged in similar trade pro-
cesses usually are subjected to similar health-hazards, while if there
are several trade processes in the same department, wage-earners may
be subjected to the health-hazards of other processes than their own.


The following tables (abbreviated) show what one rubber com-
pany, employing some 650 workers, accomplished in the winter of
1913-14 in the matter of Illness Records, Physical Examinations and
Sickness Records of their employes:

"We find that there was a total of about 380 examinations at the regular
examination and since that time the total has risen to 443. Now out of these
443, the items show as follows :

I. Last illness ran the whole list almost, malaria predominating with
6, measles -5, penumonia 4, rheumatism, pneumonia, sore throat, stom-
ach trouble, typhoid, scarlet fever. — Only 45 cases, all told, of close
enough dates to report, that is within the last four years,
n. Physical Examination. Finding:
Eyes: Vision, right 5, left 5.
Hearing: Right 2, left 2.
Chest and contained organs:
A total of 19 cases :

Heart Diseases, 12.
Arterial iSclerosis, 6.
Pleurisy, 1.
Abdomen and contained organs — 44 cases:

All pertaining to hernia.
Rectum and Genito-nrlnary organs — 28 cases:
Varicocele, 27.
Hydrocele, 1.
Mental Alertness, poor — 6 cases:
Illiterate — 10 cases:

"In the case of the hernial cases above mentioned, with the exception of
probably a dozen, they were very slight and these were or are now all properly
supported by truss so that they cause no inconvenience. There were probably a
half dozen cases of varicocele, and the hydrocele was bad. These cases were all
instructed to wear proper support to prevent aggravation of the trouble.

TTT. Following is a list showing Hospital information for months desig-
nated, there being no major illness cases, and with but one or two
exceptions, all parties returned to work immediately:


November (1st month of Hospital)

Illness cases 93 — Male 61, Female 32.

These cases included migraine, toothache, throat affection, in
the most part, with a number of other trivial diseases.
Surgical cases 177 — Male 156, Female 21.

Mostly contusions, abrasions, infections from scratches, and
sprains, nothing serious, excepting one contused heel and one elbow
abrasion and puncture, both cases reported to State.


Illness cases 57 — Male 26, Female 31.

Practically same as November.
Surgical cases 61 — Male 51, Female 10.

Same as for November, excepting one crushed hand, one hand
and leg injured, one side bruised, all reported to State Commission,
the crushed hand having to be amputated.

January, 1914.

Illness cases 77 — Male 38, Female 39.

'Same as former months.
Surgical cases 72 — Male 64, Female 8.

Usual, two cases reported to State, neither being serious.


Illness 118 — Male 67, Female 51.
Surgical 42 — Male 39, Female 3.

Two cases reported to State, neither being a major accident."

There is no question but that from the manner in which the
superintendent of this firm has taken hold of the question of physical
examinations and medical records of his employes, he is getting to-
gether a working force which is superb, one in which the defective
worker is properly fitted to his job (not discharged), and one in
which the constant repetition of minor health complaints are having
their causes discovered and (whether occupational or not) these
causes eliminated when preventable.

A prominent eastern establishment has been able to improve
cases of heart disease by selecting proper work for such persons,
not only saving lives thereby, but keeping worthy and productive
men on their jobs.

A large steel company, which employed an average of 5,602
workers during a period of 38 months, supplied us with very care-
fully compiled tables of sickness taken from its sick benefit associa-
tion records, which covered all employes. (No accidents, or venereal
diseases included.) In all , cases workers were genuinely sick for at
least one week. Classifications showed as follows :


/. General Charactef of Sickness in an Iron and Steel Establish-

No. Yearly

Sickness. Claiins. Percentage.

Preventable diseases 1,150 5.750

Degenerative diseases 227 1 . 135

Other diseases 67 .335

Total : 1,444 7.220

//. Systemic Classification of Sickness in an Iron and Steel Estab-

No. Yearly

Systematic Diseases. Claims. Percentage.

Respiratory' 391 1 .955

Digestive" 285 1 . 425

Communicable' 218 1 .090

Musculo-osseous^ 184 . 920

Nervous" 79 .395

Skin' 65 .325

Circulatory' 63 - .315

Urinary' ' 45 .225

Strain, etc." , 41 .205

Constitutional 27 .135

Special Senses fears, 15) ' 17 .085

Chronic Infections 18 .090

Lymphadenoid 6 . 030

Neoplasms 5 . 025

Total 1 ,444 7.220

'^ Bronchitis, 145; Pneumonia, 75; Tuberculosis, 51; Pleurisy, 39; Tonsil-
litis, 34; Miscellaneous, 47.

/Gastritis, 102; Appendicitis, 53; Liver Trouble, 34; Enteritis, 30; In-
digestion, 19; Miscellaneous, 41.

'La Grippe, 100; Typhoid Fever, 72; Mumps, 10; Measles, 9; Misc., 27.

* Rheumatism, 141; Lumbago, 37; Miscellaneous, 6.

'Sciatica, 18; Neuralgia, 13; Neurasthenia, 12; Neuritis, 9; Paralysis, 8;
Miscellaneous, 19.

'Boils and Carbuncles, 40; Conjunctivitis, 9; Miscellaneous, 16.

^ Heart Trouble, 31; Varicose Veins, 13; Apoplexy and Cerebral Hem-
orrhage, 8; Miscellaneous, 11.

'Kidney Trouble and Nephritis, 39; Cystitis, 6.

•Hemorrhoids, 16; Hernia, 13; Heat Prostration, 4; Miscellaneous, 7,

^"Auto-intoxication, 24 1 Diabetes, 3,

///. The Average (Yearly) Morbidity Figures in the Various De-
partments of an Iron and Steel Establishment During a Period
of 5 Years, ipii to 1Q13 Inclusive.
(The greatest variation of numbers employed did not exceed 15%
in any one department.)

Average Average Average

Number of Number Per cent

Departments. Employes. Sick. Sick.

(a) Heat E.vposcd.

Bessemer 393.3 33. 8.39

Open Hearth 145.3 7.' 4.81

Rail and Shape Mill 500. 43.3 8.66

Blast Furnaces 261. 35. 13,41

Foundry 163.3 12.7 7.77

Shelf Mills 348.3 33.3 9.56

Pipe Mill 1,764.7 162. 9.18

(b) JVcalhcr Exposed.

Police 35. _ 2.7 7.o2

Railroad (yards) •. . . . 156.3 ' 9. . 5.76

Section Hands 110. 10. 9.09

l^ard Labor ..-. 468'. 28.7 6.13

Ore Docks... 90.3 ,8.3 9.19

Bricklayers 72.7 2.7 3.66

Building Construction 106.3 9.7 9.07

(c) Indoors (mostly).

^lechanical 472.3 47.7 10.09

Electrical 181.3 4.8" 2.37

Miscellaneous 351.6 11.3 3.21

Total 5,619.7 460.7 8.20

The above tables are very important —

First, because they show the type and the minimum amount of
sickness that can be expected at the present day in an iron and steel
establishment which has the highest attainments in sanitation and
hvgiene of worlcing quarters, and medical supervision of it^s employes.

Second, because the last table (No. III.) shows definitely which
departments have the most and which have the least percentage of
cases of sickness, and hence where the greatest precautions are neces-

Third, because average sickness figures are shown for a number
of "weather exposed" groups of workers who are under organized
welfare and medical supervision — figures hard to obtain for these
classes. It may be added in conclusion that a large percentage of
these workers are foreigners, Eastern European, and therefore the
most difficult class to instruct and supervise, but a strong overseers'


and foremen's organization with high ideals, patience and persistence
has developed a working force in a health-hazardous line of industry
in which the average yearly sickness is only 8.2 per cent. (The sta-
tistics supplied give the exact types of sickness in each department,
but the necessarily small numbersl for each disease do not make it
advisable to publish the same here. Suffice it to say that respiratory
and digestive diseases lead in practically all departments.)



(See Part V and the general index for description of the health-
hazardous processes mentioned. It is, of course, undersood that many
hazards other than poisoning exist in the various industries here


According to the Census there are 55 firms employing 5,997
wage-earners, or 1.3% of the total wage-earners in the State. Our
investigations covered 12 plants, in 6 cities, employing 4,560 wage-
earners, of whom 4,499 were males and 61 females. The industry
is made up of several processes which are more or less health-haz-
jardous, viz.. Iron Founding, Brass Founding, Core Making, Metal
Grinding, Forging and Blacksmithing, Machine Shopping, Polishing
and Buffing, Wood-working, Painting.


This industry, according' to the Census, includes 75 establish-
ments, employing 12,130 wage-earners, or 2.7% of the total wage-
earners in the state. (Jur investigations covered 34 firms, in 10 cities,
employing 17,783 wage-earners, of wliom 17,404 were males and 379
were females. The industry is made up of several processes which
are more or less health-hazardous, viz.. Iron Founding, Brass Found-
ing, Core Making, Metal Grinding, Forging and Blacksmithino-. Ma-
chine Shopping, Brazing, Soldering, Welding, Polishing and Buffing,
Acid Dipping, Pickling, Furnacing, Tempering, Electroplating, Paint-
ing and Varnishing, Ja]ianning, l*ji:uneling. Facquering and Shellacing.


The Census shows 6 firms employing 74 wage-earners. Our in-
vestigations covered 2 firms, in 2 cities, employing a total of 8 wage-
earners, all males. — Furthermore, bal)bitting of journal bearings is


an auxiliary process in railway shops and many large plants in the
foundry and machine shop, and iron and steel branches of industry.
One of the two plants visited had melting pots well hooded, so
that risks from lead poisoning were only nominal. General working

Online LibraryOhio. State Board of HealthA survey of industrial health-hazards and occupational diseases in Ohio → online text (page 5 of 47)