Page images

12.6 per cent, by accidents due to the general hazard of the industry 37.7 per cent, and by accidents due to their own fault 41.3 per cent of all the injured persons studied.


As stated above, the Imperial Insurance Office of Germany makes a practice of issuing, at 10-year intervals, special studies of the principal facts regarding the accidents compensated in the selected year. The principal purpose of these studies is to indicate the possibilities of improvement in the prevention of accidents and in the medical, surgical, etc., treatment of the injured workmen with the view of restoring the largest possible measure of their earning capacity. A summary of the information contained in special studies of industrial accidents compensated in the years 1887 and 1897 is given in the Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, but the study relating to the accidents compensated in the year 1907 was not received in time to be included in the report.

The national compulsory accident insurance system of Germany includes practically all the manufacturing, building, extractive, and transportation industries of the country, and the study of the accidents compensated under the national system includes nearly all of the accidents occurring in the course of employment of a workman. Having at their disposal information relating to accidents covering a period of 25 years, the experts of the insurance office have been enabled to present the salient facts regarding industrial accidents in a manner which makes the material of great value to other countries; in addition, certain facts regarding the condition of the injured persons are of service in suggesting the best methods of administering a system of industrial accident insurance, such, for instance, as the advantage of a system of pension payments as contrasted with that of lump-sum payments.

Under the German system the accident insurance is administered by mutual associations of employers, the employers in each industry being organized into one or more associations; these administrative organizations are used in the studies of accidents as the basis of classifying the industries of the country into industrial groups, and in the statistical tables given below an industrial group means a group of one or more of these associations; for purposes of reference the official number of the association is given each time the group is referred to.

The employers' mutual accident insurance organizations make provision only for those accidents which result in death or in disability lasting longer than 13 weeks. Another series of organizations, the sickness insurance funds, makes provision for accidents causing disability of less than 13 weeks. But there is very little information regarding the accident experience of this group of organizations

the following pages the accidents included are only those which caused death and those which caused disability lasting longer than 13 weeks.

The employers' mutual accident associations defray the cost of the accident insurance by means of assessments based on the amount of their pay rolls, modified by a system of risk rating based on the number of accidents occurring in the various plants; it is directly to the financial interest of each employer to adopt all possible means for the prevention of accidents, and since compensation is paid to the injured workman in the form of a pension during disability, any betterment in the physical condition of the injured workman which would improve his earning capacity thereby reduces the financial burden on the employers. These facts, in addition to humanitarian considerations, have led the employers' associations to make heavy expenditures in the enforcement of preventive measures and in the medical treatment of the injured workman. Thus in 1897 the expenditures for medical treatment were $237,747, and in 1907 they had increased to $505,250; for the enforcement of preventive measures expenditures in 1897 were $246,769, and in 1907 were $355,400.


The first special study of industrial accidents in Germany included accidents occurring in the year 1881;' this study formed the basis of the provisions contained in the bill for the accident insurance system, which was later enacted into the law of July 6, 1884. The 1881 study was made for a special purpose, and later investigations were planned on such entirely different lines that the information presented in the 1881 report is not comparable with the data published in the succeeding reports.

The accident insurance system began operations October 1, 1885, and as soon as the system had been in operation for a little more than two years the first detailed study of the industrial accidents compensated under the law of July 6, 1884, was made; the first study related to the industrial accidents compensated in the year 1887, and the form used in that investigation has been followed closely in the investigations of 18973 and 1907." In each case the data relate to accidents which were compensated in the years mentioned and not to the accidents occurring in those years.

The three studies just mentioned related to accidents in the manufacturing and similar industries, in the building trades, in the extractive industries, and in transportation; studies of accidents

1 Published in Statistik des Deutschen Reichs, Erste Reihe, Band 53, Ergänzungsheft. 9 Amtliche Nachrichten des Reichs-Versicherungsamts 1890, p. 199 et seq.

8 Amtliche Nachrichten des Reichs-Versicherungsamts 1899 Beiheft; 1900 Belhest 1, 2. Gewerbe-Unfallstatistik für das Jahr 1897.

* Amtliche Nachrichten des Reichs-Versicherungsamts, 1910, I Belheft, I-III Tell. Gewerbe-Unfallsta tistik für das Jahr 1907.

compensated under the law relating to insurance of accidents in the agricultural industries were made in the years 1891' and 1901? on practically the same plan. A discussion of these data will be found in the Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor (Vol. I, pp. 1124 to 1176).


The scope of the study of the accidents compensated in the year 1907 is shown in Table 1. The first line in the table gives the grand total for all the insured persons and all the establishments included, and comprises establishments engaged in manufacturing and similar industries, in building trades, in navigation, and in Government plants. The second line shows the total for all the establishments engaged in manufacturing and similar industries, in the building trades and in navigation, but does not include certain kinds of work, the insurance of which is conducted by the organizations called subsidiary insurance institutes. The third line of the table gives separately the total for the subsidiary institutes just mentioned which, however, include only work in building trades, in engineering construction, and in navigation. The fourth line of the table gives the total for work conducted by the public authorities and comprises work in Government plants, such as factories, postal and telegraph work, railroads, building operations, navigation, and work similar to navigation, such as dredging, towing, etc. Following these tables are given the data for the various industry groups, each employers' accident association or group of associations being given separately. At the bottom of the table are given the data for establishments and operations conducted by the public authorities, the general character of the work being readily understood from the designations used in the table. The form used in this table is followed throughout the entire study.

The total number of establishments subject to the insurance in the year 1907 was 673,095; this number, however, does not include the number of establishments conducted by public authorities, nor the establishments whose insurance was conducted by the subsidiary institutes. The largest number of establishments is found in the building trades (associations 43-54) with 159,548, the express and storage industries (association 58) with 64,771, the woodworking industries (associations 31-34) with 61,495, the meat-products industries (association 65) with 56,500, the blacksmithing, etc., industries (association 66) with 54,728. These industries, it will be noted, are those in which the small-sized establishment prevails, and except in

1 Amtliche Nachrichten des Reichs-Versicherungsamts, 1893, p. 231 et seq.

Amtliche Nachrichten des Reichs-Versicherungsamts, 1904, I-II Beiheft. Unfallstatistik für Land und Forstwirtschaft, 1901.

[ocr errors]

the case of the building trades these industries are not among the five industries in which the largest number of insured persons is engaged.

The average number of persons subject to the insurance in the year 1907 was 9,879,016. For insurance purposes the average number of insured persons does not give an accurate statement of the number of persons subject to the hazard of the industries in which they are engaged; for this reason an abstract workman, called a “full-time workman,” is used and the number of such workmen is found by taking the number of days' work performed and dividing this number by 300 days. Thus if an establishment is in operation 300 days in the

year and employs 200 men, the number of full-time workmen is 200; if this establishment were in operation but 150 days during the year, the number of full-time workmen would be 100; by this method it is possible to make accurate comparisons between the various industry groups, some of which may be seasonal in character, while others may work continuously during the entire year. In the tables following the number of full-time workmen has generally been used. In the year 1907 the total number of full-time workmen included in the insurance was 8,604,155. The industry groups employing the largest number of full-time workmen are the iron and steel group (associations 4-11) with 1,211,881 full-time workmen, the building trades (associations 43-54) with 983,499, the textiles (associations 20-27) with 912,594, and the mining industries (association 1) with 732,584, though the State railway establishments employed 458,953 full-time workmen; none of the other industry groups employ more than 450,000 full-time workmen.

The number of persons killed or injured for whom compensation was paid for the first time in 1907 was 81,248. It should be stated that in this table and in the following tables the number of persons compensated in the year 1907 is assumed to be the number of accidents, each person killed or injured being counted as one accident. As the number of persons employed in the various industry groups varies so greatly, a comparison of the total number of persons compensated in each industry group merely indicates the relative amount of work performed by the insurance organizations in the different industries.

The total number of persons compensated for the first time in 1907 formed 9.44 per 1,000 full-time workers; the number of persons compensated in industries, building trades, and navigation formed 9.58 per 1,000 full-time workers, while in 1897 this proportion was 8.07 per 1,000 full-time workers. The increase in the accident rate is so marked that it has been made the subject of special study and the results are given on pages 15 to 18.

The number of persons for whom accident reports were made in the year 1907 was 516,366, this being 60.01 per 1,000 full-time workers in

that year. Under the German insurance system, disability lasting less than 13 weeks is cared for by a system of sickness insurance funds, so that the vast majority of accidents are not handled by the accident associations; in addition, reports of accidental injuries are frequently made for the purpose of establishing a possible claim of the workman for compensation, but which official investigation later proves not to have been industrial accidents within the meaning of the law. An accident report, in fact, means merely a notification that a workman claims to have been injured and intends to apply for compensation, even though the case may be a doubtful one. These data are therefore of questionable value and have not been made the subject of further study in the investigations conducted by the Imperial Insurance Office.


1907 AND 1897.
Source: Amtliche Nachrichten des Reichs-Versicherungsamts, 1910. I Beiheft, I Teil. Gewerbe-Unfall-

statistik für das Jahr 1907, pp. 2 to 191.)

[blocks in formation]



(1) (1)

Grand total......

(1) 9,879,016 8,604,155 81,248 9. 44 (!) 516,366 60.01
Industrial accident asso-

ciations (not including

673,095 9,018,367 17,860,780 75, 370 9.58 8.07 465, 224 59. 18
Subsidiary institutes of

building trades, engi-
neering, and naviga-

tion associations.... (1) 136, 944 81,164 1.345 16.57 (1) 3,068 37.80
Public authorities....

723, 705 662,211 4, 533 6.85 (1) 48,074 72. 60 B. GROUPS OF ASSOCIA

TIONS. i Mining..

2, 258 732, 584 732,584 11,381 15.54 12.09 92, 455 126. 20 2 Quarrying.

12, 779 476, 691 174, 446 2,677 15.35 11.94 12,001 68.79 3 Fine mechanical products 5, 802 222,958 222, 958 1, 481 6. 64 5. 38 10,336 46. 36 4-11 Iron and steel.

40,276 1,249,681 1,211,881 14,083 11.62 -8.92 117, 868 97.26 12,13 Metal working

5,934 216,738 200, 929 1, 533 7.63 4. 21 7,686 38. 25 Musical instruments. 1, 203 54,943 32,504 225 6. 92 3. 96

1, 126 34. 64 15 Glass.

960 85, 636 77,850 347 4. 46 4.07 2, 634 33.83 16 Pottery.

1,349 91, 447 91, 447 310 3.39 2.33 1,689 18. 47 17 Brick and tile making. 11,582 293, 126 201, 412 1,931 9. 59 6. 71

7,073 35. 12 18 Chernicals....

8,618 214, 904 206, 263 2,038 9. 88 7. 76 13,034 63. 19 19 Gas and water works.

2, 596
67, 452

67, 452 435 6. 45 5. 14 4,884 72. 41
20 Linen.
582 58, 830 58, 830 280 4. 76 4. 49

1,038 17.64 27 Silk.

2,251 72,032 72,032 93 1.29 1. 26 520 7.22 20-27 Textiles (including linen and silk).

15, 457 914,033 912, 594 2,739 3.00 3. 25 12, 669 13. 88 28 | Paper making.

1, 264 83, 335 86,087 793 9.21 9. 27 3,808 44.23 Not reported.

* Including blacksmithing, etc.

98. 16 47.64 32.89 84.87 30.83 20.95 23.63 13. 37 24. 96 52.68 66. 43 14. 93 5. 50

13. 17 38. 80

« PreviousContinue »