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who had suffered one or more attacks of the disease. From a layman's point of view the most striking points about the disease are that its symptoms are unique, so that when a case occurs there is no danger of its being mistaken for something else; that its cause and nature seem to be fully established and that preventive measures are well understood and, when carefully enforced, are markedly successful. The disease seems to be directly due to the well-known law of physics that a liquid can hold in solution a volume of gas proportioned to the pressure of that gas in the atmosphere to which the liquid is exposed. While at work in compressed air the men are exposed to a heavier atmospheric pressure than in free air. Consequently their blood absorbs a larger volume of nitrogen--that being by far the most voluminous constituent of air—that it can hold in solution under normal pressure. If, then, a worker whose blood has become thus saturated with gas under the pressure of the caisson atmosphere passes into the decreased pressure of a normal atmosphere the gas may be set suddenly free, causing bubbles in the blood vessels, interfering with the circulation and sometimes leading to permanent injuries.
The preventive measures are threefold. First, there should be a careful selection of workers, as some are more susceptible than others. Young men are less apt to be affected than the middle aged, and men of spare build have an advantage over the fat. Men who already have any organic diseases are particularly liable to injury. Next, the time spent in the caisson should be inversely proportioned to the pressure under which work is carried on. And third, and possibly most important of all, the passage from the compressed to the natural air should be a gradual and graduated process, the men on leaving the caisson being kept in a lock in which the air pressure is gradually reduced until they may with safety pass out. How long this process should take depends both on the length of the working shift and the pressure to which the workers have been exposed. The New York law provides that decompression shall be at the rate of 3 pounds every two minutes, unless the pressure shall be over 36 pounds, in which event the decrease of pressure shall be at the rate of 1 pound per minute.
Only one method of treatment is known for this disease: Placing the sufferer again in compressed air, and, after keeping him there some time, gradually reducing the pressure. In severe cases it may be necessary to repeat this treatment several times. If it can be applied as soon as the characteristic symptoms manifest themselves it is usually strikingly successful.
In his personal investigations Dr. Bassoe found 161 men who had suffered from caisson disease, some of them having had several attacks. All but 20 of these had had severe pains, usually in the limbs, the so-called "bends." Thirty-four had had paralysis and 12
" showed symptoms of some degree of permanent disease of the spinal cord. Eighty-seven had various affections of the ear, and 65 of these had resulting impairment of hearing. The most striking feature about the table is the comparatively short time in which the men, as a rule, had passed out from compressed to normal air.
The study closes with some suggestions for desirable legislation on the subject and the text of the laws regulating compressed-air work in New York and in Holland and in France.
In addition, the volume contains several studies dealing with rarer industrial diseases, and preliminary reports which, through lack of time, are too incomplete to indicate much more than the need for further investigation. Drs. Shambaugh and Boot made a study of occupational deafness, showing that danger of this exists in numerous lines of work where its presence is not generally suspected. Noiseproducing occupations are, of course, especially objectionable from this point of view, but the volume of sound seems to be of little importance as compared with its pitch. Shrill, high-pitched tones readily result in injury to the nerve of hearing, while low-pitched sounds, no matter what their volume, seem to work no harm.
Drs. Lane and Ellis examined 500 Illinois miners in a search for miners' nystagmus without finding a single case. Increased use of machinery and changes in method of mining, they conclude, are making this rare disease still rarer.
Dr. and Mrs. Matthew Karasek make a preliminary report on poisons used in photography, photo-engraving, silvering mirrors, and etching glass, and in their very brief outline indicate, in addition to what may possibly be necessary dangers, some wholly needless risks to which workers are exposed. For instance, among photoengravers, where the most deadly poisons are freely used, they found that very commonly there were “no posters, instructions, or warnings to employees regarding poisonous and dangerous chemicals; neither were labels present on any of the bottles containing potassium cyanide or other chemicals used in the rooms."
The report closes with a section on the legal side of the question, giving drafts of proposed laws for the regulation of some of the dangerous trades, and including an abstract of the chief provisions found in European legislation concerning the health and safety of workers. The commissioners are careful to explain that they regard the proposed laws only as a first step toward what should be accomplished. They recommend that the investigation be continued by the same or another body having more time and larger funds at its disposal.
RECENT FOREIGN STATISTICAL PUBLICATIONS.
Die Arbeitseinstellungen und Aussperrungen in Österreich während
des Jahres 1908. Herausgegeben vom k. k. Arbeitsstatistischen Amte im Handelsministerium. 169, 308 pp.
This volume contains the fifteenth annual report of the Austrian Government on strikes and lockouts. The information, which is compiled by the Austrian Bureau of Labor Statistics, is given in the form of an analysis and six tables showing: (1) Strikes according to geographical distribution; (2) strikes according to industries; (3) general summary of strikes; (4) comparative summary of strikes for the 10-year period 1899–1908; (5) details for each strike in 1908; (6) details for each lockout in 1908. An appendix gives a brief review of industrial and labor conditions in Austria, statistics of trade unions, and notes concerning the strikes and lockouts reported in the preceding pages of the report.
STRIKES IN 1908.-The number of strikes and the number of establishments affected by strikes, as well as the number of strikers and the number of persons affected by the strikes, show a marked decrease as compared with 1907. The number of strikes during 1908 was 721; the number of establishments affected was 2,702; the number of persons employed in these establishments was 135,871, and of this number 78,562 went on strike. Of the 78,562 persons on strike, 3,771 were dismissed and 3,304 found other work after the strike.
The average number of strikers to each strike in 1908 was 109, as compared with 163 in 1907, 142 in 1906, and the number of strikes as compared with the number of establishments affected was in the proportion of 1 to 3.7, as compared with 5.6 in 1907 and in 1906. In other words, the strikes of 1908, measured by the number of establishments affected by a strike, and the average number of strikers for each strike, were considerably less important in 1908 than in either 1907 or 1906.
The introduction to the report calls attention to the fact that estimates of the losses occasioned by the strikes must be accepted only with many reservations. On this basis the wage loss of 78,562 strikers, who were out 1,011,036 days, is estimated at 3,083,000 crowns ($625,849); of this amount 147,800 crowns ($30,003) was caused by the strikes which were successful, 1,920,800 crowns ($389,922) by the partly successful strikes, and 1,014,400 crowns ($205,924) by the strikes which failed. In addition 7,810 persons not on strike were thrown out of work, and their loss in wages is estimated to have been 227,000 crowns ($46,081).
The number of lockouts in 1908 was 35, as compared with 26 in 1907.
The following table shows by industries the number of strikes, the number of establishments affected, the number of strikers, etc., for the year 1908:
STRIKES, ESTABLISHMENTS AFFECTED, STRIKERS, AND OTHER
THROWN OUT OF WORK, BY INDUSTRIES, 1908.
The industries in which the largest number of strikes occurred were the building trades with 145 strikes, quarrying with 95 strikes, and mining and metallurgical with 81 strikes. Each of three other groups had over 50 strikes; textiles with 59, metal working 58, and woodworking, caoutchouc, etc., 53. In each of the following industries more than 5,000 workers were on strike: Mining, etc., industries with 26,803 strikers, building trades industries with 12,664 strikers, textile industries with 7,284 strikers, and quarrying, etc., industries with 5,939 strikers. These four industries included 52,690 strikers, or 67.2 per cent of the total number of strikers.
The following table shows the causes of strikes for 1908, by industries:
STRIKES BY INDUSTRIES AND CAUSES OR OBJECTS, 1908. [Strikes due to two or more causes have been tabulated under each cause; hence the industry totals of this
table, if computed, would not agree with those of the preceding table.)
As in previous years, the demands of the strikers were most frequently for increase of wages and for reduction of hours, the first demand occurring in 490 strikes and the second in 138 strikes.
The following table shows the number of strikes and of strikers in each group of industries in 1908 by results:
STRIKES AND STRIKERS, BY INDUSTRIES AND RESULTS, 1908.
Mining and metallurgical...
4,085 5,409 17,309 26, 803 95 882 3, 191 1,866 5,939 58 267
3,512 826 4, 605 37 247 2, 606 1,127 3,980 53 217 1,121 404
1,742 18 117 525 77 719 59 443 3,880 2,961 7,284 3 450
9 462 199 1, 736 235 2,170
24 1,191 89 1,304 41 995 2, 303 448 3, 746 630 83
716 25 119 121 265 145 1, 126
6,931 4,607 12,664 10 57 98 116 10 76 70 169 27 611
3,367 466 4, 444 17 158 744 231 1,133 721 10,162 37,336 31,064 78,562 100.0
12.9 47.5 39.6 100.0