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that an alternative proposition be enacted, embodying compensation as optional but not required, though so limiting rights and defenses as to lead both parties to an acceptance of the compensation provisions. “That the law should read into every contract of hiring a limited guaranty by the master to his servant against injury to life or limb while the servant is going about his master's business, when it appears that the larger proportion of such injuries in almost all employments are entirely incidental to the business, does not seem any more unreasonable than that the law should conclusively presume that the servant, upon entering the employment, voluntarily assumes in advance all the necessary and inherent hazards of the trade."
The study of the coal-mining industry—one of the largest of the State-leads the commission to the conclusion that the adoption of the scheme of compensation proposed, giving $2,250 for fatal accidents as against the present average award of $168, would effect a charge of but 1.6 cents per ton of coal mined to meet the necessary expenditures. As to the direction of this expenditure it is said: “Should this prompt the exercise of extra care, as the commission confidently anticipates, only a portion of this increase would be utilized for the purpose of compensation, the remainder going into the plant in additional safeguards and conveniences."
In the other industries investigated and in the report from the Illinois Manufacturers' Association details of accidents showing the nature of the injury and the form and amount of damages or compensation on account of it are shown; also a comparison of the present actual cost and the estimated cost under the commission's plan.
MASSACHUSETTS. This commission was appointed in June of last year and submits only a partial report, recommending that another year be given to investigation before any bill is submitted, an earlier tentative draft not being included in the report. A pamphlet of 23 pages! sketches briefly the forms of compensation in use in Great Britain, Germany, and Norway as typical of the three systems in use in countries having compensation systems. Tables are given showing the period of disability in 2,849 accidents reported to the commission from September 12 to November 20, 1910; also the cost of industrial accidents in 734 establishments during 1909.
MINNESOTA. The report of the Minnesota commission ? is devoted more to the discussion of legal and constitutional questions than to a study of industrial conditions. Mention should be made in this connec
1 Report of the commission on compensation for industrial accidents, 1911.
- legislature of Minnesota employees' compensation commission, 1911.
tion, however, of a statistical and economic study of “Industrial accidents and employers' liability in Minnesota," made by the State bureau of labor, and published as a part of its Twelfth Biennial Report (1909-10). Prefaced by a brief historical sketch of the question under consideration, there is given a summary of the laws of foreign countries, taken from the Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor; the action of the Federal Government is next reviewed; also that of various States in the appointment of commissions, and particularly the movements that led to the appointment of the Minnesota commission. Practically 100 of the 289 pages of the report are taken up with a presentation of the draft of a bill proposed by the commission and its discussion, point by point, in which the rights and liabilities provided are defined and court decisions cited in support of the various provisions.
The conclusions of the commission are adverse to the constitutionality of a State insurance law, in view of the provisions of the State constitution which forbid the State to engage in private business or to use the public funds in competitive undertakings as a means of regulating the conduct of business, citing Rippe v. Becker (56 Minn. 100), a case in which it was held that the State had not the power to build and operate a grain elevator. The discussion as to the constitutionality of the proposed bill is detailed and, together with the summary, presents the argument in favor of a compensation bill of compulsory application.
The report of the New Jersey commission' is embodied in a message of the governor to the legislature, transmitting the report. The pamphlet of 91 pages contains the evidence taken at the hearings of the commission, discussions of the defenses commonly in use in meeting actions for injuries to employees, some account of the Chicago conference of November, 1910, and the bill proposed for enactment. The representatives of labor on the commission, while supporting the principle of the bill, objected to the amount of compensation proposed, desiring to make the maximum period 400 weeks instead of 300 weeks, which the bill provided.
The report of this commission ? consists of two octavo volumes, each of more than 400 pages. The first volume contains the report to the State legislature, with numerous appendices containing summaries and discussions of the compensation acts of foreign countries,
I Message of the governor of New Jersey transmitting to the legislature the report of commission on employers' liability, 1911.
: Report to the Legislature of the State of Ohio by the commission appointed under senate bill No. 250 of the Laws of 1910 (employers' liability commission, 1911).
statistical data, Federal and State laws, drafts submitted by other commissions, etc. The second volume is made up of minutes of evidence and a record of the public hearings held by the commission.
Considerable space is given in the report proper to a consideration of the legal aspects of the question, while the social and economic reasons for a change in the law are also discussed. The conclusions of the commission were in favor of a law providing “a uņiform plan of insurance, practically compulsory in its nature,” and the argument as to constitutionality is, of course, directed to the support of such a law. Besides the draft of a compensation bill, the commission recommended an investigation of occupational diseases, an increase in the number of factory inspectors, and an increase of the penalty
iolations of the laws requiring the installation of guards and safety devices in factories and workshops.
The report of the Washington commission is the briefest made so far, occupying but 5 pages of a pamphlet of 48 pages, the remainder of the volume being taken up with the proposed bill and a discussion of its provisions from a legal viewpoint. Like the Ohio bill, the bill offered is one that provides for State insurance, and so far from feeling itself bound by the case cited by the Minnesota commission it regards this case as controverted by decisions in the Slaughterhouse Cases (16 Wall. (U. S.) 36), and the State Dispensary Cases (State v. Porterfield, 47 S. C. 75; Farmville v. Walker, 101 Va. 323; Carsed v. Greensboro, 126 N. C. 159, etc.). It is said that "it ought to be a sufficient answer that in the proposed act the State is not engaging in a business, but only creating and through State officers disbursing funds, to which the State contributes nothing, in the administration of the police power by the means deemed by the legislature most effective. There is no possibility of a revenue or profit to the State and the State is not insuring anybody or anything.”
The report of the Wisconsin commission” is a pamphlet of 98 pages, presenting a draft of a bill which is discussed section by section, to set forth the working and purpose of the various provisions rather than to support their constitutionality. There are about 40 pages of tables showing the nature and results of accidents, the outcome of damage suits, insurance costs, etc.
1 Report of commission appointed by Gov. M. E. Hay to investigate the problems of industrial accidents, 1910.
? Report of the special committee on industrial insurance, 1911.
The counsel for the commission concluded that no compulsory system of compensation could constitutionally be exacted, except for the State and its subdivisions, while an elective system would be possible, and, by the withdrawal of the defenses commonly offered by employers, acceptable as well.
The commission reports that from the beginning they have agreed that accidents or deaths suffered in industrial pursuits should be reasonably compensated, not as a matter of charity, but as a matter of justice; and that as a rule the manufacturers of the State have approved a change in the conditions, and have expressed at all times their desire to cooperate in framing a suitable bill and in gathering helpful data. As to the matter of uniformity of legislation, the commission regarded it as important that Wisconsin and other States, particularly those that are adjacent, should adopt a uniform or nearly uniform scale of compensation, though it did not think it important that the bills should be similar as regards compulsory or optional features.
LAWS ENACTED AND BILLS DRAFTED.
Each of the commissions that made a final report submitted therewith a draft of a bill. In New Jersey, Washington, and Wisconsin laws were enacted practically in accordance with the recommendations of the reports, while the legislatures of California, Kansas, and New Hampshire enacted compensation laws without preceding commissions. With many amendments, the Ohio commission's bill passed the legislature. In California an amendment to the constitution of the State has also been submitted to the vote of the people next autumn, authorizing the legislature to enact a compulsory compensation measure, the present law being elective. Besides the commissions' bills, it is of interest to consider the proposed drafts of bills prepared by the American Federation of Labor and the National Civic Federation, and the conclusions of the Chicago conference as to the essential features of a compensation law. All these laws, bills, and drafts not previously printed by the Bureau are reproduced on subsequent pages, while a tabular analysis presents a view of certain important features of these measures, actual and proposed. Included in the table are the previously printed laws of Maryland, Montana, and New York on compensation and insurance. First in the table are presented the laws of the nine States having laws of this class, the States having compensation laws being first presented, those providing for insurance systems following. The same order is observed in presenting the bills and drafts of bills. In the tabulation, the items noted were taken up in the order indicated in the following discussion of the headings.
PRINCIPAL FEATURES OF LAWS AND BILLS.
SYSTEMS PROVIDED FOR.–As already indicated, two principal systems are contemplated by the various laws and bills under consideration, compensation and State insurance. In the first, the employer is not required to make any preparation in advance of possible demands on account of injuries to his workmen; while under the insurance system all employers coming under the law pay fixed amounts as premiums into a State fund (county funds in Maryland) to cover such cases as may arise, whether in their own establishments or elsewhere. Obviously the former system is without expense to the employer who has no accidents, while in the latter every employer is at some charge, whether he has an accident in his plant or not; but it is equally clear that the undistributed cost of a serious accident might prove disastrous to an uninsured employer. Some, but not all, of the laws and bills providing for compensation make at least permissive provision for insurance by employers to meet their liabilities under the new legislation. Where such provision is made, a common condition is that the insuring company shall be subjected to the liabilities of the employer so far as is appropriate, retaining also his defenses, if any. Provision is made by statutes of Illinois (R. S., ch. 73, sec. 309 et seq.) and South Carolina (Acts of 1903, act No. 40) for the formation of mutual companies by employers for the insurance of risks resulting from their liability for injuries to employees. A similar measure is reported to have passed the senate of the State of New Jersey at its session just concluded.
Either of these systems may be elective, i. e., subject to acceptance or rejection at the option or choice of the parties affected; or compulsory, i. e., of necessary acceptance as a basis of determining the rights of workmen to receive payment for injuries resulting from labor accidents. Another variation may provide that the law shall apply compulsorily to the State and its subdivisions, and be elective as to private employers. Where the elective system prevails, the parties rejecting compensation or insurance remain under a liability system, requiring a suit at law for the determination of rights and damages in cases of accidental injury to workmen. Under a compulsory system the liability law is abrogated within the scope of the new law, unless in specified classes of cases the right is retained. (See “Suits for damages.")
Insurance may be cooperative, the fund being maintained by premium payments from both employers and employees, or it may be at the cost of the employer alone.
INDUSTRIES COVERED.-The laws vary widely in their scope and in the method of determination. Some include all industries, others