View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

V,  c.,.,  71-0,/-/  u. s.  ep rtmen of Labor .omen• s ureau  Bulletin of the Women's Bure u,  ---  "' .,,, 11 -  1 ..  '•  ••  ••  !  , , ,..  ..  ..  :  ...  .  : ~.·.  .'' ...  PROPOSE.D .E__, .1CYf ..,NT ~  > ••  t  OF WO E  I NG  DU  THE : A  HE  I  IND ST I ES  IA A  A  FALL  OF .(  '  L Y.  JANUARY 1919  shington Government Printin Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  1919  office  I  o. l  Wome 11''l, =8 LL re.~ u_ --~ -~ -l,(_\\ e1,·~ ~- I EVIEW tJ nuary, 1919) of the Bu.r eau of Labor  '   1365!li• - 19 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  tatlstlcs, UDlted ::>tat  Dep rtmeot of Labor.)  D OF  ING THE W R IN THE IN•  RA FALL ,  [231]  • Y. 1 •  232  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  modification of a State law in its application to a particular plant for a specified period was essential to the winning of the war. It was clear, moreover, even in advance of the investigation of the plants in ~iagara that the proposed employment of women at night was a symptom of difficulties in securing labor which, iri view of the national importance of production there, demanded mor e comprehensive action than a decision for or against night work for women. The national emergency demanded that the conditions of employment established for all workers whether they be men or women, should be such as to insure maximum production. The conditions necessary to insure maximum production are those which result in the minimum of absenteeism and shifting of workers from plant to plant--known as "lab or turnover.'.' Furth ermore, it was recognized that the conservation of the health of the workers was essential to the winning of the war. If labor shortage in Niagara plants was due primarily, or even in part, to ill-health and absenteei3m traceable to a lack of proper precautions against the risks of the industries, then the employment of women at night would not be the r emedy which would r esult in the production necessary for the Army and the Navy. The women of America would be r eady to r espond to the needs of the country for the prot:l.ucts of the dangerous trades by taking th e places of men withdrawn into military service, but the F ederal depar tm ents responsible for production could not well afford to h ave the labor of women wastefully used by introducing them firs t into industries which were likely to b e h armful to them and which would be able to hold longer th e available supply of 'llen by scrupulous attention to the conditions affecting health. COOPERATING AGENCIES,  The r equest from the employers of Niagara Falls was referred to the Woman in Industry Service of the D epartment of L abor just established by congressional appropriation. Because of the multiplicity of the problems involved, the Woman in Industry Service decided to associate with it in this work other Feder al agencies vitally intere ted in the industries there, not only because the industries were essential in themselves, but because they illustrat ed a problem of man-power and the proposed introduction of women in many other industries of the country. To deal with those aspects of the problem which center primarily in conditions affecting the health of the workers the committee on hazardous occupations was formed with a membership representing Federal agencies concerned with women in industry and .with the health of the civilian population, the department of labor in the State affect ed, and the Federal departments havwg a direct or indirect interest in contracts in the chemical industries. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  I.  [232]  SOOPB OF Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  '  234  MONT HLY LABOR REVIE W. PURPO SE OF INVEST IGATIO N.  The whole purpo se of the invest igatio n was to secure promp t action to impro ve condit ions in the plants . The inquir y was brief and was not planne d to secure new scientific data on the health h azards of the ch mical indust ries which are alread y w ll known , but was de igned r ath r to deal with an immediate, practi cal problem and to secure compliance with r comm endati ons demon strated to be f asible and eff ctive. The indust ri s repres ented in iagara F alls are as impor tant to the commercial life of the count ry in time of peace as t h y have been e ntial during the war. Impro vemen t of the worki ng con ditions there is typica l of one of the big tasks of recons tructio n which must be resolu tely accomplished in many comm unities. The Feder al Gov-ernme nt repres enting the ation as a whole is as vitally cone rn din th conser vation of the worki ng forces, as funda menta l in the up building of our count ry after the war, as it was in securi ng produ ction necessary to the war. The State depar tment of labor, endow ed alr adJ by legislative action with power to requir prope r provis ion for protecting the health of workers in dange rous trades ,· has a contin uous intere st in fulfilling its respon sibilit y in the hazard ous occup ations of the State. Emplo yers will find the establ ishme nt of well-r cognized standa rds the surest means of s curing and holdin g a satisfa ctorY labor force. The worke rs in the comm unity, who are the ones most direct ly affected, may well seize the oppor tunity to coope rate actively with State and Feder al depar tment s. The task is not one of discovery or invest igatio n, but of contin uous superv ision of the health of the worke rs and unrem itting applic ation of the precau tions and safegu ards known to be effective. Niaga ra Falls has an oppor tunit1 now to demon strate to other comm unitie s how much may be accoill.. plishe d by united effort on the part of State and Feder al depart ments , employers, and worke rs. REPOR TS.  The Public Healt h Service has taken charge of the prepa ration of report s coveri ng health , sanita tion, and saf ty in the plants . Th0 Woma n in Indus try Service of the Unite d States Depar tment of Labor , in coope ration with the burea u of wome n in indus try of the New York State Indus trial Commission, has prepa red the following report dealing with the proble m of labor supply , and especi ally the propo sed emplo yment of women. This report is submi tted at a tiill 0 when, with the signing of the armistice, the imme diate pressu re for the introd uction of wome n has pa sed. The emplo yers in Niagarfli Falls recognize this situati on, and the major ity of those not no~ emplo ying them do not wish. to introd uce wome n into their plants• But as the introd uction of wonien in new indust ries is a proble m of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [234]  235  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  peace as well as of war, it seems profitable to discuss the various factors entering into it as they are illustrated in the industries of ' Niagara. OCCUPATIO NS FOR WOMEN.  · The 21 plants covered in the investigat ion manufact ure four main groups of products: first, abrasives, or the material of which grinding wheels used in many importan t machine industries are made; second, chemicals and gases, including liquid chlorine, bleaching powder, hY_drochloric acid, sulphur chloride, chloro benzol, caustic soda, picric acid, formaldehyde, potassium chlorate, sodium bichromat e, carbon tetrachloride, sodium and sodium peroxide, tetrachlor ethane, and ?hl0 roform; third, electrodes and carbon; fourth, metal and alloys, including ferro-alloys, chrome metal, alloys of chrome and tung ten, manganese and its alloys, titanium alloys, and aluminum sheet metal; and fifth, a miscellaneous group, including brass, aluminum castings, s~orage batteries, spindle wheels, electrical equipmen t for automobiles, lighting systems, and hand flashlights. The number of plants in each group and the number of men and Women employed are shown in the following table: NUMBER OF PLANTS AND NUMBER OF MEN AND WOMEN EMPLOYED, BY MAIN GROUPS OF PRODUCTS.  Number of plants.  Main product.  Number employed.  Men.  Women.  Total.  - - - - -Abrasives  i~ti\.~ff:-fH!EEiiii//iii\? Total. ....•.....•.... ... : _. ___ . _..............• .. _. __ .. _.  3  1,734 2,242 1,230 2,667 650  490 8 19 33 132  2, 224 2 250 1:249 2,700 782  21  8,523  682  9, 205  3 8 3 4  Thus the total number employed in the plants visited was 9,205, of whom 682 were women. The largest group of women, 490, were employed in the abrasive plants. Here they were engaged in a "Variety of occupations, from the delicate operation of molding and mounting dental wheels and points to the more vigorous task of ?Perating lathes which grind the wheels, throwing off quantities of inorganic dust. The next largest group were in a pla,nt manufacturing storage batteries, but the majority were not in the departments in which the more dangerous compound s of lead were handled. In other plants they were employed in small numbers in such ~:1sual work for women as shoveling coal, pushing wheelbarrows, pihng brick, loading freight cars, and even outside painting. The point of view from which the investigat ion was undertake n ~ to be open-min ded about the work which women might do and  9--16 97136°-1 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  {235]  2 6  MO  THL Y LABOR REV IEW .  t ' ma p out in a series th ope rati on in all the pla nts , inc lud ing eve n th in wh i h the em pl ym ent of wo me n wa s not pro pos ed by ma n g m nt. Ro ugh ly, the the occ upa tion s cou ld be classified int o fou r gr ups , th first, in lu ing ligh t ope rati ons req uiri ng no tra ini ng; . the s nd, ligh t ope rati ons req uiri ng trai nin g; the thir d, ope rati ons nda ng ring h alth wh n per for me d wit hou t saf egu ard s wh ich are n t m inta in d at pre nt; and th fou rth, ope rati ons uns uita ble for w me n. The pur pos e wa s to esta blis h a pla n of pro ced ure rat her tha n t run the risk of per mit ting wo me n to oe intr odu ced firs t into pr s mo st like ly to be inju riou s to the m bec aus e in the se sh rt ge of lab or wo uld pro bab the ly fr-s t be felt . In the em erg enc y of th wa r it mig ht bec om e nec ess ary for wo me n to tak e par t in ma nJ ind ust ri sin wh i h haz ard ous con diti ons wer e fou nd, bu t the aim in th sur v y of iag ara Fal ls was to poi nt out the haz ard s and th 8 p ibil it of r m vin g the m in adv anc e, so tha t if the em plo ym ent of w m n sh uld b e om e ne ess ary the dan ger s to hea lth wo uld ha'1' 0 b n r du ed t a min imu m. HAZ ARD S TO HEA LTH .  The hi f haz ard s to h alth in the ind ust ries inv est iga ted are du 0 t lus t , sp cial ly ino rga nic dus ts in the ma nuf act ure of abr asiv es; fum and gase giv n ff in suc h pro ces ses as the ma nuf act ure of nit ri a id, hlo rine gas, or ben zol ; and the ma teri als, cau sin g irrita.ti n of the ski n and mu cou s me mb ran es, in ma kin g cau stic ble ach , pic ric acid, and inte rme dia te com pou nds , and sod ium bic hro ma te, P is nin g fro m lea d dus t and fum es is the dan ger in the ma nuf act ure of t rag e bat teri es. Exc ess ive hea t and exc ess ive noi ses are haz ard s in s me occ upa tion s. The me n in the ble ach ing cha mb ers 1 suffer fr m the irri tati on of dus t fro m chl orid e of lim e, the ove rpo wer ing eff t of chl orin e gas , and the dis com for t of an exc ess ive ly hig h terop r ture . . B sides the dan ger s wh ich cha rac teri ze the se specific trad es, era l haz ard s to hea lth wh ich genare unf ort una tely fou nd in ma ny ind ustrie , alth oug h not inh ere nt in the nat ure of any of the m, wer e not ed, su h as the lift ing and car ryin g of hea vy wei ght s wit hou t me cha lli al dev ic s, or the lac k of ade qua te illu min atio n, or insu.ffi. ctent ventila tion , or neg lec t of fac iliti es for com for t and san itat ion , and fati gue du to 1 ng hou rs of wo rk, and nig ht wo rk for the me n wo rke rs. Ing ner al, the pre cau tion s~ nec ess ary are the rem ova l of dus t and ga at the ir sou rce ; min imi zin g the han dlin g of poi son ous or irrit ting sub stan ces by intr odu cin g aut om atic pro ces ses ; scr een ing of 1 Ilelm ts are  used by the blea ch workers in one plan t. Fore ign experience has dem onst rated tbe 1easi· of this process, but only one plan t in Niagara has insta lled such and it is not us . a macbill 81 2 Th e were thoroughly clliicWIBCd in tbe Repo rt of the New York .mission Ior 1913. State Fact ory Inve stiga ting CoJ:P·  bllity or an auto mati c hand ling Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [236 ]  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  237  furnaces or other sources of extreme heat; screening of lights to prevent glare; the use of mechanical devices to lessen the amount of heavy work; absolute cleanliness of floor and machinery and the use of proper impervious materials for floors or work tables in such industries as the manufacturing of lead products; adequate washing facilities, including also soap, individual towels, hot and cold water, and education in their use; provision for proper work clothes and spectacles, goggles, gloves, or respirators; and, above all, as necessary to insure the other precautions, competent medical supervision and education of the workers in hygiene and safeguards necessary in their trade. SPECIAL HAZARDS FOR WOMEN.  Certain occupational dangers in these trades affect women more seriously than men. Lead poisoning is one of these. Fortunately, in America few women have b een employed in the lead industries, and in Niagara Falls it is only in isolated instances that any women have been exposed to this danger. Tevertheless, as the .tendency to intr~duce women into occupations new to ' them may still continue it is desirable to point out the dangers in the lead trades. Expert observers, both in this country and abroad, have held that women are more susceptible than men to the effects of lead. But the most serious danger for women in these occupations is due to the effect of lead on the generative organs. Those who have suffered from lead poisoning are more likely to be sterile or to suffer miscarriages or to bear dead children or to lose their children as infants. Lead poisoning in men has not been known to have any ill effects upon the offspring, but for a woman the poison affects not only herself but her children in the future, and these serious results occur ~ore frequently if she works in the lead industries after her marriage. The manufacture of storage batteries is a particularly hazardous branch of the lead industries, because of the use of lead oxide in large quantities. The utmost care is necessary to make it reasonably safe for men. The floor should be made of impervious material and kept clean by flushing. Mechanical devices should be installed to minimize the handling of lead and to carry the dust away from the workers. Hot running water, soap, and individual towels should be provided in accessible wash rooms. Bubbling drinking water should be supplied. The worker should be furnished full suits of overalls, caps, and washable gloves 4i good repair, and these should be laundered by the company at le"-St twice a week. The workers should be required to wash hands and face, rinse their mouths, and take off their overall3 before eating lunch and before quitting work, and lunch should n ever be eaten in the workroom. Each worker should be examin d by a physician before being employed and reexamined at regular intervals, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [237]  238  MONTHLY LABOR. REVIEW.  preferably once a week, and those who are anemic, or who show signs of tuberculosis or nephritis should not work in the lead trades. The workers should be instructed as to. the precautions necessary for them to take and the importance of care of the teeth, a proper breakfast before going to work, and careful cleanliness of hands and finger nails. They should know how to watch for early symptoms of lead poisoning- digestive disturbances, bad taste in the mouth, loss of appetite, constipation, fatigue disproportionate to their work, loss of sleep, and headache-and the doctor should be consulted as soon a..s such symptoms arise. In the manufacture of storage batteries, the most dangerous process is mixing the paste and applying it to the plates, and the employment of women in this work should never be allowed. But in the other processes, also, such as the molding and casting of grids and the assembling of formed plates lead oxide constitutes a danger. Scrupulous cleanliness in the workrooms, abundant ventilation, separation of processes so that the workers in one occupation will not be exposed to the risks of another process, and proper exhaust systems to remove dust and fumes are essential. In the processes involving exposure to lead in the- industries of Niagara Falls these precautions are not strictly observed. Some changes have been made recently. A concrete floor is being laid instead of the wooden floor with lead dust ground into it too deep for removal by any superficial method of cleaning. A mixing machine will be installed which will render unnecessary some of the handling of lead. These are promising beginnings, but they must be followed by much more radical improvements before the employment of women in any of the lead processes should be permitted. For the most part, the other industrial poisons in plants in Niagara Falls have not been demonstrated to be more harmful to women than to men, except in the sense that the duties of women at home added to the work in a factory render them more liable to illness. Public opinion wisely insists, therefore, that women should not be employed under conditions exposing them to such dangers. Public opinion should go farther and insist that all unnecessary risks should be eliminated for men. · It is in the abrasives industry that the largest group of women in the plants inspected were employed. The inorganic dusts of this industry are demonstrated to have a serious effect in predisposing to tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases. It niay be due in part to this industry that Niagara Falls has held a record for a high percentage of tuberculosis among the cities of the State. Here, again, the effects upon men and women are similar. But in the effort to protect women workers New York State has for some years Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [238]  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  239  had a law prohibitip.g the employment of women in grinding tools on carborundum or emery wheels. This should be held to ·a pply also to the manufacture of carborundum products since the amount of dust is probably greater in their manufacture than in processes of grinding on the completed product. It is being proved possible to remove this dust in Niagara Falls plants. Blowers are being tested by the management, on recommendation of the committee, which are hke.Iy to make this danger to health unnecessary if they are installed throughout the processes and kept in good working order. Until these precautions are taken ~omen should not be employed in the dust-generating processes or m the workrooms where they are carried on, and those now employed should be transferred to other work as rapidly as possible. In addition to the occupational poisons, of which lead is believed to be the only one injuring women more than men, certain conditions in the processes are more serious for women than for m en. The lifting of heavy weights, for instance, may cause strains affecting seriously the capacity of women for child-bearing. Due to differences in the structure of the body continuous standing is considered more harmful for women than for men. Occupations involving unusual stretching or straining may be unduly fatiguing for women, especially as, generally speaking, a woman's reach is less than that of a man, and the muscles of arms and back are not so strong. Strains on vital organs are, therefore, more likely to occur and may be especially serious for married women. Moral hazards such as employment in isolation must also be considered as having a peculiar danger ·• for women. The amount which a woman of average strength may safely lift ha~ not been scientifically determined. The proper method of lift~n? ·may make possible the handling of a larger weight with less InJury. New York State forbids women in the core rooms of foundries to lift more than 25 pounds. Shortly after our entrance into the war, the Chief of Ordnance and the Quartermaster General simultaneously issued suggestions to contractors setting forth standards for the employment of women and these declared that no woman should be required to lift repeatedly a weight of more than 25 pounds. This standard, therefore, has official precedent to commend it. In applying it, however, it should be remembered_ that even 25 pounds may be too great if lifted too frequently, or 1f the lift requires stooping, or if the payment of piecework creates a strain due to too much speeding up. Moreover, women who a:re below the average in strength, or who are pregnant, or who have a tendency to cardiac disease should never be permitted to lift even a · lesser weight repeatedly. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [239]  240  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  It should be said here that progress in the invention of mechanical devices is rendering unnecessary much of the heavy labor of industry. In one plant manufacturing shells in another city, the employmen.t of women led to the use of a small pulley device whereby the shell was swung into place on the lathe machine and swung back to the work table. Trucks run by motors are already supplanting hand-wheeling in some of the Niagara plants. Mechanical conveyors make it possible to move material from one part of the workroom to another. These together with elevators and hoists combined with the proper routing of materials through the plant should remove many of the present burdens which are undoubtedly responsible for making common labor scarce. Having in mind the special hazards to women and the desirability of protecting them against certain dangers which affect men and women alike, but which should not be permitted to women because of the very vital relation between the health of women and the health of the race and because, too, for women the burdens of housekeeping and care of children must be added to the burdens of industry, the Woman in Industry Service has recommended to the people of Niagara Falls that under present conditions these women should not be employed in the following processes: A. Shoveling or wheelbarrow work, because of the tendency to lift too heavy weights in such occupations. B. Yard work, because of exposure to inclement weather and because so much of the yard work is heavy. C. Loading or unloading freight cars. D. Occupations involving the lifting of a weight of more than 25 • pounds. E. Occupations in which women are exposed to risks of poison, which have been proved to be more harmful to woinen than to men, such as the lead industry. F. Occupations in the abrasives industry in which the worker is exposed to dust for which there is no adequate system of removal. · HOURS OF WORK.  The initial reason for a survey of the proposed employment of women in Niagara Falls plants, as already explained, was the wish of certain firms manufacturing war products to employ women at night. With the increasing shortage of labor they foresaw that in processes requiring continuous operation the employment of women on the day shifts would presuppose the possibility of their taking their turn at night with the rotation of shifts. Similar requests had reached Washington from other States and the whole matter was under careful consideration there. It was felt that only an extreme Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [240]  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  241  emergency due to the war could justify the employment of women at night and that then their employment should be permitted only for a temporary period while the emergency lasted. Moreover, from the beginning of the war, the Federal Government was opposed to any relaxation of standards gained in State labor laws. New York State is one of the nine States prohibiting night work of women. The reason for this insistence upon insuring to women a rest period at night is the experience of the nations of the world with the bad effects of night work. Before the war, by international treaty, 13 nations prohibited it. In our own country successful defense of the constitutionality of the New York statute resulted in bringing together a mass of evidence which may be summed up by saying that neither a man nor a woman is naturally a nocturnal Worker. Physiologically speaking, the vitality is lowered at night and this persists even after the habit of night work has been long established. For women there are the added dangers due to loss of sleep by day because of home du ties, and to the moral risks of employment at night. For society there are also to be considered the bad effects of night work of women upon the welfare of childr~n, and Upon family life. From the point of view of industrial efficien y, night work is·not to be desired because output is diminished during the night hours. Had the war gone on a plan was under consideration in Washington to take night work under Federal control through clauses in ontracts forbidding employment of women between 10 p. m. and 6 a. m., Unless the plant held ~ special certificate granted for a temporary Period by the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy, with the approval of the Secretary of Labor. With the signing of the armistice, the War Labor Policies Board passed a resolution, declaring that only the emergency created by the war coulr have justified any consideration of the possibility of permitting night work for women, reaffirming its conviction that women should not be employed at ~ight and recommending the immediate cessation of night work 1n Government owned plants. The New York State law on this subject thus has the sanction of the Federal Government based on war experience and the backing ?f similar legislation in other States and abroad. It is, therefore, 1lllpossible for any plants in iagara Falls to employ women between the hours of 10 p. m. and 6 ~- m. Doubtless with the passing of the War emergency none of them contemplates it. In a number of plants in Niagara Falls the practice of long working Periods of 10, 12 or even 13 hours for men continues. It should be Pointed out that even during the war the steel indu ~ry adopted an 8-hour day, instead of the 12-hour shift so common for many years Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [241]  242  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  in the steel industry. The drift to-day is toward an 8-hour day as a health measure for the workers and an efficiency measure for the industries. In dangerous trades, involving risks of poisoning, long hours are very serious because they expose the worker just so much longer to poison, while they render him forough fatigue more susceptible to its ill effects. In the industries of Niagara, therefore, the 8-hour day must be listed among the safeguards which should !>e established against occupational diseases. WAGES.  No investigation of wages paid in Niagara plants was made in this inquiry. In reports on occupational diseases abroad, the greater susceptibility of low-paid workers to disease has been pointed out as pertinent to the whole discussion of safeguards. Low wages mean undernourishment, and crowded living quarters, and these increase the danger of ill heal th. In the Niagara Falls housing survey by the Independence Bureau in November and December, 1917, information from 36 plants on the wages of 12,349 men and 1,029 women showed that 63 of every 100 women earned a weekly rate of $12 or less. It is not shown how many of these earned more than $8 or $9 a week. Of the men, 19 per cent received a rate of $25 or more a week, while the same proportion received $18 or less. The majority of the men, 61 per cent, were rated at $18 to $25 a week. These are wage rates and not actual earnings. 1 For women, the policy of the Federal Government repeatedly affirmed during the war is that when a woman does the same work as a man she shall receive the same wage. Casual inquiry has shown that some of the plants in Niagara Falls have paid the same rate to women as to men. In others, contrary to the policy recommended by the Government, a lower rate has been adopted for women. On this subject no other recommendation can be made, since data are lacking except to point out the policy deemed necessary by the Government during the war, and to add that the health of the workers in such occupations as those in the chemical industries is more than usually dependent upon the standard of living which their wages enable them to maintain. THE LABOR SUPPLY,  A brief inquiry into the available supply of women workers not now employed in Niagara Falls indicated that the number probably did not exceed 300 to 350, of whom many were young married women with children. The shortage of housing for women rendered impracticable the drawing in of a larger number from other communities. 1  Independence Bureau Report of Niagara Falls Housing Survey, December, 1917 (ll. 10), Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [242]  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  243  The Independence Bureau in its report to the NiaO'ara Falls Housing Committee had reported that "permanent boarding facilities for Women are scarce. The average price of lodging is 3 or 4 a week, and board is obtained separately. Th re are a few rooms with board and lodging supplied together at 5 or $6 a week, but the price of decent board is more g nerally $8 or 10 a week." 1 In the hou ing plans afterwards adopted by the Federal Government no spe ial pro'Vision was made for women living alone, so that the indu tries would necessarily r ly upon tho e who are already living in iagara or who go there with th ir families. In makino- inquiry as to the number of women workers who might be secured to take m n s places, numerous indications were n ountered of the fact that it was not merely or even chiefly withdrawal for rnilitary service which was crippling iagara indu tri , but an abnormal turnover of labor, an aggravation of a condition report d to have existed before the war. It was said that outgoing trains carry away as many workers as incoming trains bring and that the workinopopulation of the city changes almost as fast as does the tourist population. Men and women out ide the industri s, but cognizant of conditions through long re idence there and close contact with the Workers, pointed out that living and working conditions which workers in iagara Falls have found particularly hard to endure are low 'Wao-es, inadequate housing, and transportation, and exposur to industrial poisoning. They were con inced that th failure of manufacturers to grasp the connection between production, good workinoconditions, and good living conditions had resulted in an acute labor shortage of both m~n and women. It was to olve all the e complicated problems that employers were looking to the introduction of 'Women workers. This would probabl not have been the solution during the war. It is not likely to be the solution now. The industries of iagara Falls face a probl m of plant management and community re ponsibility. Failure to olve it will a centuate pre ent difficulties. Succe s in solving it would place Niagara Falls in the fron t rank of industrial communities. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS.  Under present conditions in the industries inv stigated in iaO'ara Falls the extension of the employment of worn n is not d irable. If women are to be emplo i in the hazardous occupation of the country it should be only under conditions which have be n made as safe as possible. This has not b n achieved as yet at ia ara Fall . Th re are plants in iagara in indu trie not in luded in the in pection in which conditions are said to be favorable for the employment 1  Independence Bureau Report of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  iagara Falls Housing Survey, December, 1917 (p. ).  (243]  244  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  of women. It is wiser that the comparatively few available women not now employed should :find opportunities in these plants instead of in the industries in which serious risks to health would be encountered. But to advise against the employment of women is not to solve the labor problem of Niagara. Clearly even during the war this was not a problem of the desirability or undesirabii.ity of introducing women into work hitherto done by men, or of employing women at night. The great need of the industries at Niagara is to adopt a program to insure better health in the plants and better health in the community. Dust and fumes from the plants are affecting the homes of the people. Housing problems are acute . . This investigation was confined to plant inspections and does not afford a basis, therefore, for recommendations reO'arding a h ealth program for the community. Even a cursory inquiry shows the need, however, for united effort to make iagara Falls as attractive a place for workers to live as it has been famqus as a resort for travelers. In the industries the need is to apply in the plants +he precautions which are well known in hazardous trades, especially the construction of proper systems of dust and fume removal and the establishment of hio-her standards of sanitation and hygiene in the interest of preventing occupational diseases. It is very important, also, to make provision for continuous medical supervision of the health of the workers, instruction for them in the dangers of their occupations and the best means of protecting themselves against occupational diseases. Under article 6, section 99, of the labor law of the State the Industrial Commission of New York State has full power to require adequate medical protection for the workers in dangerous trades. This section reads as follows: Dangerous trades.-Whenever the industrial board shall find as a result of its investigations that any industry, trade, or occupation, by reason of the nature of the materials used therein or the products thereof, or by reason of the methods or processes or machinery or apparatus employed therein or by reason of any other matter or thing connected with such industry, trade, or occupation, contains such elements of danger to the lives, health, or safety of persons employed therein as to require special regulation for the protection of such persons, said board shall have power to make such spedal rules and regulations as it may deem necessary to guard against such elements of danaer by establishing requirements as to temperature, humidity, the removal of dusts, gases, or fumes, and requiring licenses to be applied for and issued by the commissioner of labor as a condition of carrying on any such industry, trade, or occupat ion, and requiring medical inspection and supervision of persons employed and applying for employment and by other appropriate means. 1  The combined efforts of Federal, State, and municipal authorities should be utilized to make possible physical examination of workers, advioe as to the occupations which they can safely follow 1 and instruc1  New York State Labor Law and Industrial Code, July 1, 1917 (p. 84). Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [244]  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  245  tion in the methods of guarding against the dangers of occupations ~nd especially to stimulate the management in the plants to achieve lU the field of protection of the health of the workers as notable 7esults as they have attained in the soientifio progress of the chemical indu tries in this country. The first essential is a program by the management to change conditions. Changes now under way give promise of such a program. The statement made in the report of the New York State F actory Investigating Commission about the chemical industries in the United States as a whole should be no longer true in iagara. In no other industry are perils to the body and dangers to the health of the workers many, so insidious, and so deadly. The workers come in direct, close, and daily contact with lead, arsenic, phosphorus, antimony, mercury, chromium compounds, and other powerful poisons. Injurious gases and harmful fumes are evolved in hun~reds of its various processes. Irritating dusts, excessively high t emperatures, burn1n0 and spurting liquids, dangerous explosives, and many other open and hidden, seen and unseen dangers lurk at almost every step. And yet, here in the United States, there is no industry in which there is less prot ection t o the health and interests of the workers, or where a standard for ever-increasing production and large profits is ma.intained at such a sacrifice of human life. 1 80  Attention must be centered first upon the engineering problem of applying in the plants the precautions and safeguards which are Well known, e pecially to construct proper systems of dust removal and to establish the usual standards of safety and facilities for comfort. It is important also to develop progressive plans for employment Illanagement in the plants, with a spirit back of it which makes the relations of a firm with its workers and the safeguarding of their health at least as important in the organization of the industry as the sale of the products. Several plants have employment executi-ves. The extension and strengthening of their work are desirable. Most vital now is the development of health activities in the comIllunity, preferably under the direction of a municipal health departlllent in cooperation with the United States Public Health Service, While the industrial commission of the State carties forward its supervi ion over health conditions in the plants. The final reoommenda tion is fundamental as affecting all the others Which have been made. The most immediate, practical way to stimul~Jte the management to make progress in the engineering problems of safety and sanitation in the plants and to insure more effective health supervision is to extend the scope of the workmen 1s compensation law of New York State to include occupational diseases. If a ~oman operating a machine in a Niagara plant loses a finger she is ew York State. Second Report of the Factory Investigating Commission, 1913. Chapter onChemi~ In dustries (p. 459). Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [245]  246  MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW.  entitled to compensation according to the workmen's compensation law. If in the same plant, she is poisoned by lead, with all the dangers of serious after-effects not only for her but for her children, the present workmen's oompensation law does not protect her. The result is that throughout the State marked progress has b¢en made in guarding against accidents, but only very slight progress has been made in guarding against the disease which is as directly _die to the oocupation as any industrial accident. No other single ~easure oan be put forward with equal confidence as sure to result in:' g:reat improvements in the plants of Niagara Falls, and in similar'1 in.dustries throughout the State. · ., Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [246]