Workmen's Compensation: Prevention, Insurance, and Rehabilitation of Occupational Disability

By Herman Miles Somers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
The Challenge of Occupational Disability

The Hazards of Work

Picture the vast army of American labor, about 62 million men and women, going forth each morning to do the nation's work: into the mines, the mills, the factories, the shops, the offices, the stores, and onto the farms, the stockyards, the railways, the highways, and construction sites. Imagine this army returning from work, and count the casualties of one work day. Include only those who were injured on the job.1 Consider only those hurt badly enough to lose time beyond the day in which they were injured.2 Even with this limited count, in the course of an average work day about 62 workers will have been killed, 350 will have suffered some permanent impairment, and 7,600 more will have suffered injuries which will keep them

____________________
1
The total of all accidental injuries far exceeds job injuries. The National Safety Council estimates the 1952 total of all accidental injuries in the U.S. at 9.7 million, divided as follows:
Occupational2,000,00021%
Motor vehicle1,400,00014%
Public non-motor vehicle2,050,00021%
Home4,350,00044%

Source: National Safety Council, Accident Facts, 1953, Chicago, p. 13. The total is smaller than the sum of the categories because of the removal of duplications.

2
Accidents are counted as injuries only when they result in the inability of the injured person to perform his usual work for 1 or more days after the day of injury. The total number of all industrial injuries, including those which involve no lost time or losses of less than 1 day, has been estimated at 40 to 50 million annually.

-1-

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