The production in the rear endured the same great sacrifice as the war in full swing in the front, as John Jones was accidentally caught in the machine due to his shirt while operating it, resulting in his death on the spot. leading to the public’s awareness of the frequency of production accidents in the rear during the war and the importance of production labor safety.
The term “industrial accidents” is not a new concept to Americans, and in addition to workplace safety, protection of workers is another focus of state legislation. However, until the early 20th century, the inadequate mandatory safety inspections and job security laws were not sufficient to substantially improve safety in the workplace, and a plethora of industrial accidents lawsuits finally shook this antiquated common-law doctrine.
Businessmen began to fear that they would lose lawsuits over plant safety issues, and the inability of plant employers and operators to guarantee a safe working environment led to the government’s decision to establish a workers’ compensation system. Although legal and political efforts to reduce workplace injuries began during the “Progressive Era,” these initiatives really took hold after Roosevelt’s New Deal. In fact, even Wisconsin inspectors did not take their duties seriously during the early stages of the Workplace Safety Inspection Act, and employers continued to exploit loopholes in the law to minimize the cost of safety as a percentage of company operating costs.
This was further expanded in the early days of the war, and the government, for its part, required that workers and management in factories must form central safety committees to plan and implement safety training.
Only these advances made during the New Deal were gradually forgotten as the United States became involved in the war. The pressures of war and industrial accidents had created a vicious cycle. In 1940, the year Roosevelt was elected president for the third time, while hundreds of workers responded to Roosevelt’s call to speed up production to hasten the demise of fascism, factories began to hire large numbers of new workers with no prior experience to meet the need for additional production shifts. Although this largely served as an implicit test for the U.S. government to reduce unemployment, the advent of war forced factories to speed up operations, and the result was an increase in safety hazards.
These disturbing statistics make it natural to point the finger of blame at the Roosevelt administration, labor associations and plant management, but at the governmental level, all the Roosevelt administration could do at the time was to sponsor a number of production safety campaigns led primarily by managers and involving a certain number of labor organization employees.
As before the war, researchers also found that small factories were always more prone to workplace accidents than large, integrated factories. What’s even more shocking is that the American public simply doesn’t care about the severity of industrial injuries.
In addition, each wartime institution was equipped with safety equipment specific to its own production and labor needs. However, such promotional activities as those conducted by the Wartime Production Committee were, after all, only individual efforts, and industrial accidents continued to occur, and the number of casualties did not decrease significantly.
It was not until early 1943 that the Roosevelt administration proposed the creation of a department named the “Industrial Health and Safety Division” to promote more effective coordination of worker safety and health activities. The department then launched a nationwide campaign to promote cooperative safety management, Since then, such activities to promote cooperative management of security have gradually been on track and have slowly begun to achieve results.
The mega-bombing of Port Chicago, although many sources revealed decades after the incident that it was a covert atomic bomb test by the U.S. government, was enough to make waves among the public at the time, not to mention the fact that most of the dead crew members were black.
After the explosion, it was clear to Roosevelt that there were still many uncovered safety problems, so the Roosevelt administration also made it a priority to raise the safety awareness of plant managers.
In a sense, the major labor organizations in the United States were responsible for the high number of workplace accidents. However, the U.S. wartime safety efforts were only a perfunctory solution to some superficial problems, so that the U.S. injury rate remained at a worryingly high level for a long time after the end of World War II.
Similar to factory safety management, the U.S. military then began to strengthen safety instruction for instructors, hoping to reduce the number of casualties through their words and example, but recruits simply do not put safety awareness at the forefront of their minds except when watching educational videos.