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Occupational safety in the late XIX century – is history approach useful for present research and practice on injury control and prevention?
  1. E Gascon*
  1. Correspondence Alicante University, Apartado de correos 99 03080-Alicante, 03080-Alicante, Spain

Abstract

The Commission of Social Reforms was established in December 1883 as the first Spanish official institution to take charge of the study and to offer solutions to the so called social question. The objectives of this study are to describe and analyse the information about occupational injuries and safety conditions of working-class population in Spain at the end of 19th century. The study methods of the Commission of Social Reforms were based on the current scientific advances at that epoch, coming from the development of the Sociology, essential for a scientific knowledge about the real situation of society. A total of 48 county level commissions and 29 local commissions were set up. A questionnaire was designed and organised in 32 sections including a total of 223 questions. Section V was called disabled from work and included 10 open-ended questions related with occupational health and safety. A content analysis of the questions was performed. Some of the preliminary data of this research showed that the safety conditions of factories, workshops, brickwork industry, were quite deficient with a permanent exposition to injuries all around the different counties in Spain. As an example, a situation in the heavy industry is described as follows: there is a lack of clear space and a machinery accumulation that not allow to walk around; there are not scaffolds or devices for handling the mechanisms without risk; in many places children are in charge of the machinery care and inspection.

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