A WASTE OF. MANPOWER
William E. Sturf^es
Janusry 8, 1943
' Today, manpower cannot afford to be wasted. We need
every bit of it to supply our rapidly moving war industries.
Any shortaBQ of manpower Just slows up the war program. The
greatest loss of manpower is throuf;h Industrial accidents,'
More men have been killed in industry in the United States
since its founding than in all the vmrs in v/hich the United
States has been engaged. Due to such large losses through
accidents, a more intensive program is needed in an effort to
A WASTE OF MANPOWER
■Today, with the United States engaged in the largest
war that it has ever fought, many of the problems that arise on
the home front are cast aside and neglected. Most of the minds
of America are focused on the fighting men in various parts of
the world. Every day the nevirspapers contain articles which tell
of their heroic deeds and actions; hut where are the press clip-
Ings and medals for the men on the home front who are producing
the guns, tanks, planes, ships, and the other essentials of war?
Their job is just as important to the winning of the war as that
of fighting in the front lines. In their work they face an un-
seen enemy, that of industrial accidents. These industrial
accidents are greater than most people realize and are helping
the Axis Powers in their war against the United Nations. In the
last World V/ar, "there were actually more workers killed and
injured in the United States through industrial accidents than
there were casulties in the Jtaerican Expeditionary Force. ...
When the Lu si tenia was sunk, it shocked the nation. Yet, year
in and year out, as many die in industry, every fourteen days,
as lost their lives on the Lusitania.
The bad part about these accidents is that they are not
being decreased in number. In fact, the frequency rate' in 1941
was 14^ higher than it was in 1940.
Stein and Davis, Labo r Prpb lg as in America , Pg. 50
Kossoris, Max D, » Industrial Injuries in the United States
During 1941, Pg. 1
■This increase is accounted for by the influx of large numbers
of inexperienced workers into the grovdng defense industries.
The increase also indicates that safety progrsans and activities
are falling behind the rapidly moving war program. Today,
manpower is very scarce, and, hence, this loss through acci-
dents becomes an increasingly important problan. The welfare
and safety programs of the government should not be set aside
for the duration of the war, but should be expanded as much
as possible since they contribute indirectly so much to the v.'ar
The accidents in industry can be attributed to three
major causes: the unvdllingness or negligence of the employer
to provide adequate safety equipment; neglif-.ence or careless-
ness on the part of the worker; and the natural hazards that
are common to any one industiy. Accidents due to either of
the first two causes mentioned above can be eliminated. How-
ever, those due to the third cause cannot be eliminated entire-
ly. For example, no matter how many safety measures are pro-
vided, in the mining industiy there is alvmys the possibility,
of a cave- in or an explosion due to gases. However, the
majority of the causes are personal ftnd can be eliminated.
Ttie employer is required by law to maintain certain
safety standards, but the laws are too lax which is proved by
the large number of accidents. The workers are very often
the victims of an aaployer who has a thirst for profits and no
regard for their welfare. Accidents due to ignorance, fatigue,
8Jid carelessness are due to both the employer and the worker.
The worker should he carefully taught the safest methods of
doing his work and should be willlne to learn them without
being resentful. Unnecessary fatigue can be prevented by
shorter working hours, recreational actiYities, good lighting
facilities, and other similar thlng.s. The Jack and Heinz
Company of Bedford, Ohio, is a good example of the perfect
employer. All employees are given a special pair of shoes to
prevent undue fatigue; free coffee, soup, end sandwiches are
served during working hours; free dental and medical cf-re is
provided; and music is played in the plant vjhlle the men
work. Vtorking for such a company is a pleasure.
Industrial accidents prove to be very costly every
year. Not only are so many working days lost each year, but
deaths and permanent disabilities result is a loss of man-
pov7er in the years that follow. "All types of injuries taken
together cause an annual loss of time of more than 280,000,000
Contrary to the belief of Biost people, it is the
workers in the lower age group who receive the majority of
March of Time Radio Program, Dec. 24, 1942.
Bowers and Rowntree, Economics for Engineers , Pg. 502
Ko s so ri s , Max D, , Relation of Af^e to Industrial Injuries
Such a killing and maiming of young Ameilcens cannot be
allowed to go on. Most of the steps taken so far are concerned
with easing the hardships that result from the accidents. A
few examples are Workmen* s Compensotion Laws, Child Labor Laws,
Accident Insurance, and Health Insurance. Safety lews, laws
requiring certain sanitary conditions, end the National Safety
Committee are a few of the steps that have been taken in an
attempt to eliminate the accidents.
The real solution for the elimination of these acci-
dents lies in stronger and more forceful safety laws and in a
nation wide program of safety. Such a program should educate
not only the anployers and workers, but also the general pub-
lic as to the seriousness of the problem.
STECN and DAVIS, Labor Probletas in Anierioa ,
Farrar end. Rinehert, Inc., New York, 1940.
KOSSORIS, MAX D. , In dust rial Injuries in the United States
Durlnp 1941 . Bureau of Labor Statistics, GoTemment
Printing Office, Washington, D. C. , 194S.
B0W2RS and K3WNTREE, Economics for gngineers.
McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1938.
KOSSORIS, MAX D. , Relation of Afre to Industrial Injuries ,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Government Printinp, Office,
Washington, D. C., 1941.