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Extract from a newspaper report from 3rd August 1899. It is commenting on the Compensation Act. It also includes details of the number of miners killed and injured in accidents from July 1898 to June 1899 and in the previous twelve months. The newspaper also gives the same information for men working in quarries, factories, and the railway service. Additional (miscellaneous) workers in industries including workshops are also listed.
(Catalogue ref: HO 87/53)



THE COMPENSATION ACT
A YEAR'S WORKING
BIG CHAPTER OF ACCIDENTS
SERIOUS INCREASE

FATAL BY 14%: NON-FATAL BY 38%

When the Compensation Act was first mooted "The Daily News," it will be remembered, deprecated the proposed new departure in legislation, on the ground that universal compensation meant general insurance of risks, and general insurance or risks meant increasing accidents, by removing the special incentives to carefulness. This conclusion we based, not on the essential reasonableness of the theory, but upon the experience under the German and Austrian schemes of Universal Compensation for Accidents. Last January, when the Compensation Act had been in operation for six months, we took the trouble to extract the Board of Accident returns, and compare them with the official figures for the corresponding six months of the previous year. The result was a vindication of our warning. It showed that non-fatal accidents had increased by 43%, and fatal accidents by 12% during the six months. We expressly recognised, however the shortness of the period for comparative purposes. We now have the opportunity of testing the Act by a full year's working.

Its effect in causing the premature discharge of the more elderly among the workmen we have repeatedly dealt with. All that need now be said upon this point is that this effect will make itself still more visibly felt with the slackening of trade, and the consequent contraction of the demand for labour. At present things are so busy in many industries that even the least efficient pairs of hands are certain of securing full work. Thus the very old and very young as well as those in their prime showing "silver streaks, are getting full employment. We have also dealt, almost daily, with the extraordinary anomalies and ridiculous legal absurdities presented in the interpretation of the Act by the different Judges. Both these aspects of the measure may, therefore be left for the present.

We will now merely glance at the number of accidents taking place in the industries coming within the scope of its operation. The figures are extracted from the "The Labour Gazette" for each of the twelve months since July of last year, when the Act became operative. The following give the monthly returns for the several occupations under which the accidents are separately reported:

Railway service

Month

Number killed in year of Compensation Act

Number killed in previous year

Numbers injured in year of Compensation Act

Numbers injured in previous Year

July

49

50

967

1,230

August

46

42

1,133

1,081

September

54

39

1,174

1,052

October

43

50

1,100

1,188

November

41

36

1,305

1,081

December

55

68

1,231

1,222

January

45

36

1,297

1,030

February

41

42

1285

1,096

March

37

38

1,222

1,195

April

42

44

1,063

900

May

35

25

1,094

873

June

34

35

1,021

889

 

---

---

-------

-------

 

522

505

13,992

12,837

Mines

Month

Number killed in year of Compensation Act

Number killed in previous year

Numbers injured in year of Compensation Act

Numbers injured in previous Year

July

67

68

325

396

August

82

96

367

373

September

83

70

399

360

October

78

47

400

425

November

46

64

429

463

December

77

82

424

369

January

78

72

357

385

February

88

77

384

315

March

73

63

372

366

April

42

44

343

317

May

90

59

384

322

June

72

64

398

327

 

---

---

-------

-------

 

908

806

4,582

4,418

Quarries

Month

Number killed in year of Compensation Act

Number killed in previous year

Numbers injured in year of Compensation Act

Numbers injured in previous Year

July

6

11

132

67

August

14

8

147

57

September

5

9

145

63

October

20

9

153

74

November

21

9

142

86

December

8

7

107

102

January

15

5

119

107

February

12

11

113

89

March

14

8

103

114

April

7

8

73

80

May

7

10

97

90

June

6

6

398

327

 

---

---

-------

-------

 

135

101

1,729

1,256

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Factories

Month

Number killed in year of Compensation Act

Number killed in previous year

Numbers injured in year of Compensation Act

Numbers injured in previous Year

July

39

40

4218

2828

August

46

35

4248

2665

September

51

32

4912

3094

October

56

39

5092

3036

November

59

51

5261

3149

December

71

54

5151

3363

January

62

39

4430

2855

February

65

42

4961

3303

March

48

44

5541

3794

April

64

45

4504

3312

May

49

38

4995

3722

June

50

45

5325

3444

 

---

---

-------

-------

 

660

504

58,628

38,555

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miscellaneous. (Including Workshops under Factory Act, 1895, and Notices of Accident Act, 1894).

Month

Number killed in year of Compensation Act

Number killed in previous year

Numbers injured in year of Compensation Act

Numbers injured in previous Year

July

13

22

724

457

August

25

17

805

424

September

13

17

995

523

October

15

13

834

555

November

29

15

1009

605

December

19

23

1030

556

January

14

19

881

553

February

25

11

924

559

March

16

18

876

588

April

22

12

791

597

May

18

19

967

606

June

29

17

956

653

 

---

---

----

----

 

238

203

10,892

6,676

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL INJURED

Taking the total of non-fatal accidents for the foregoing set of occupations, we find that the following are the comparative figures:

 

Year of Compensation Act

Previous Year

Railway

13,992

12,837

Mines

4,582

4,418

Quarries

1,729

1,266

Factories

58,628

38,555

Miscellaneous

10,892

6,676

 

--------

--------

 

89,823

63,742

Or an increase of 38 per cent.