Progress? in Health & Safety

Progress? in Health & Safety

By George Robotham

I had to give a talk about health and safety to a different group of people than I normally talk to, so I decided to try something different. My research led me to early causes of health & safety problems and early health & safety legislation.

The causes of The Black Death, otherwise referred to as the plague, that decimated England were said to be-

Excessive masturbation (I do not know how they figured out how much was too much)

Conjunction of the planets

Wrath of God

Evil spirits

Plague Regulation, Rouen, France, 1507

Do not gamble, fornicate or curse

Avoid other sinful excesses that are likely to arouse the anger of God

Early British health & safety legislation was focused on the employment of young people in factories and mills during the Industrial Revolution.

British Health & Morals of Apprentices Act, 1802

No night work

Not over 12 hours of work

Separate sex sleeping accommodation (Apparently not all the accidents were industrial)

Religious instruction provided

Toilets provided

Clothes to be provided

U.K. Factories Act, 1844

No children under 8 employed

Meals not in the workplace

Dangerous machines fenced

Alternate days of school and work

Hours by a public clock (Apparently some factory owners set their clocks to run slow so they could get extra hours out of the workers)

Workers 8-13 not to work more than 6.5 hours a day

The cynic in me says current health and safety legislation has not moved on sufficiently from the times of our forefathers.

George can be contacted on, he welcomes debate on the above (it would be indeed a boring world if everybody agreed with George)

George Robotham, Cert. IV T.A.E.,. Dip. Training & Assessment Systems, Diploma in Frontline Management, Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education), (Queensland University of Technology), Graduate Certificate in Management of Organisational Change, (Charles Sturt University), Graduate Diploma of Occupational Hazard Management), (Ballarat University), Accredited Workplace Health & Safety Officer (Queensland),Justice of the Peace (Queensland), Australian Defence Medal, Brisbane, Australia,,,07-38021516, 0421860574, My passion is the reduction of permanently life altering (Class 1 ) personal damage

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