today is usually quite safe. The government has made
laws saying that employers have to look after the
workforce and provide safety equipment and other things
for them. At the start of the Industrial Revolution
none of these laws existed and so working in a factory
could prove to be very dangerous indeed. This section
looks at some of the conditions faced by workers and
offers a brief explanation of what was done to improve
such as the cotton trade were particularly hard for
workers to endure long hours of labour. The nature
of the work being done meant that the workplace had
to be very hot, steam engines contributing further
to the heat in this and other industries. Machinery
was not always fenced off and workers would be exposed
to the moving parts of the machines whilst they worked.
Children were often employed to move between these
dangerous machines as they were small enough to fit
between tightly packed machinery. This led to them
being placed in a great deal of danger and mortality
(death rates) were quite high in factories. Added
to the dangers of the workplace also consider the
impact of the hours worked. It was quite common for
workers to work 12 hours or more a day, in the hot
and physically exhausting work places. Exhaustion
naturally leads to the worker becoming sluggish (slow),
which again makes the workplace more dangerous.
all factories were as bad as the scenario highlighted
above. Robert owen and Titus salt for example were
both regarded as good employers in this respect. They
were amongst a group of people who were known as reformers.
These people wanted changes to the way that factories
were run. They faced opposition from other mill owners
who knew that reforms would cost them money and give
the workers more rights. (They wanted to make as much
profit as possible remember, that is the purpose of
manufacturing in a capitalist country).
reformers gradually managed to force changes to the
way that workers were treated. Some of these reforms
the hours worked by children to a maximum of 12
under 9 banned from working in the textiles industry
and 10-13 year olds limited to a 48 hour week.
of 12 hours work per day for Women.
of 10 hours work per day for Women and children.
hours worked by Women and children to 10 and a
half hours a day, but not allowed to work before
6am or after 6pm.
worker allowed to work more than 56.5 hours per