« PreviousContinue »
pamphlet of rules and instructions, pointing out the dangers of the various machines and instructing employees what to do, printed in 10 languages, has been published by the department to be distributed among the employees. In each plant a safety inspector must be appointed by the superintendent, who regularly inspects each department to see that the machinery is properly guarded and that the rules are enforced.
At the Wisconsin Steel Co. a committee of three workmen is appointed by the superintendent of each department to make a thorough inspection of their department and to suggest any measures which they think might reduce accidents. These committees go over their departments once a month. It was said by the vice president of the company that the committees recommendations were excellent; out of 448 suggestions 404 were adopted. This arrangement is found to arouse great interest on the part of the men, and by changing the personnel of the committees a number of workmen become interested and can assist in keeping new employees out of danger. Notices of accidents in any department and how they occur are posted, and whenever a workman is disabled for some time the committee investigates and makes suggestions to prevent a repetition.
It was found that numerous accidents resulted from bad lighting, so a general standard was adopted. For general machine-shop lighting one-quarter candlepower per square foot of floor area is the minimum, and in foundries where smoke and vapor increase the darkness one-half candlepower per square foot. Eighty-candlepower Tungsten lamps in enameled bowl-shaped reflectors, hung 104 feet above the floor at intervals of 18 feet, give the desired light. Wherever a more intense light is needed, as, for example, on a machine tool, an 8-candle power lamp under an enameled cone shade is hung at the requisite angle. One of the advantages to the company has been the reduction of defective product. Similarly every effort has been made to have the fire escapes as convenient and safe as possible.
Besides trying to guard the machines and so to make them less liable to cause accident, the company has requested all the manufacturers of the machines it uses to equip the machines before leaving their shops with every possible device to prevent injury to the operators. In most cases such devices can be better and more cheaply designed than the harvester company can attach them later.
In modern factories which are sanitary in themselves, with proper heat, ventilation, toilet facilities, etc., these conveniences are often useless because the foremen and employees fail to do their part. The welfare department is constantly endeavoring to better conditions in this respect. A standard has been adopted for lavatory equipment. Where the work is dirty and necessitates a change of clothing there are shower baths for men. Janitors are in charge of the wash rooms for men, and where women are employed there are matrons. Soap, towels, and lockers are provided for the employees. There are rest rooms for women also. In some plants the rest room has a piano or a graphophone. The drinking water is everywhere pure. In many of the works there are lunch rooms; indeed, wherever they are desired the company supplies them. There is always a small charge for the food enough to cover the actual cost. At some plants only coffee and hot soup are provided. At all the plants there is equipment for first aid to the injured. At the McCormick works two physicians are installed in the temporary hospital. Again, at some of the works there is a visiting nurse, and wherever a nurse is required she will be in attendance.
At the McCormick works there has been some form of apprenticeship for a number of years. No boy who has not received a sixthgrade education is taken. There are about 50 or 60 apprentices at present. These are regularly indentured for 4 years. At first the boys were required to attend night school, but this plan did not have the good results desired, as in many cases it was discovered that they did not go to school. The company then decided to have the boys taught at the works. They are now instructed in shop mathematics for two hours a week on the company's time by teachers selected from the works.
The welfare department has secured a deposit station of the Chicago Public Library at the Deering works clubhouse in Chicago, so that the employees have easy access to books. The Harvester World, a monthly magazine issued under the supervision of the advertising department, is sent free to all employees of the company. News from all the plants of the company is distributed in this way.
The handsome clubhouses at some of the works furnish convenient centers for recreation. The Deering works clubhouse in Chicago represents an expenditure of about $27,000. There are ladies' rooms, reception hall, smoking room, pool room, bowling alley, a gymnasium outfit, and an assembly hall seating 600 persons. But apart from clubhouses, the foremen at most of the works have organized clubs to promote social life. These have charge of the annual picnics for employees, they arrange entertainments, dances, etc. There are baseball teams, athletic associations, tenpin clubs, etc. Every sort of work is done, from a loan exhibit of prints at the St. Paul Twine Works, to an international tenpin match between the teams of two other works.
Besides their activities at the works, the welfare secretaries take a keen interest in the welfare of the neighborhood and are constantly ready to lend a helping hand for civic improvement. Thus one finds the assistant secretary working for the establishment of a kindergarten in the public school near one of the works.
No doubt the great strides made in guarding machinery are in part due to the International's policy of insuring their employees against accidents. This plan became effective in 1910. Its purpose is of course to furnish prompt compensation for injuries resulting from accidents occurring during employment, and in case of death from an accident, to provide compensation for the relations of the deceased. Not all employees are eligible to membership, only those employed in the works, twine mills, lumber mills, steel mills, mines, and on the railroad. The office and clerical force are excluded. The acceptance of benefits operates as a release of all claims against the company. The amount of compensation is as follows:
In case of death, three years' average wages, but not less than $1,500 nor more than $4,000.
In case of other injuries, one-fourth wages during the first 30 days of disability; if the disability continues longer than 30 days, one-half wages during the period, but not for more than two years from the date of accident. If the employee is totally disabled, after two years he is paid an annual pension of 8 per cent of the death benefit, but not less than $10 a month. All this is done without contribution from the employees; if, however, the employees contribute, the one-fourth wages paid by the company during the first 30 days of disability is increased to half wages. In this event employees earning $50 a month must contribute 6 cents a month, those earning not more than $100, 8 cents; those earning more than $100, 10 cents. Evidently this arrangement has been made with the hope of inducing employees to cooperate with the company in the prevention of accidents. To quote from the company's prospectus, “ under this plan the company and the employees equally divide the payment of benefits during the first 30 days of disability, and thus every employee becomes financially interested in guarding against accidents and in seeing that his fellow workmen are equally careful. It is hoped that this mutual interest will lead to active cooperation on the part of the employees and that thereby accidents will be reduced to a minimum."
There are classes of special benefits for the loss of hand, foot, or eye. If the injury necessitates the amputation of a hand or a foot, one and a half year's average wages is paid, but not less than $500. nor more than $2,000. In the case of the loss of both hands or both feet, four years' average wages, but not less than $2,000. In case of the loss of sight of one eye, three-fourths of the average yearly wages; and in case of the irrecoverable loss of sight of both eyes four
years' average wages, but not less than $2,000. The acceptance of special benefits excludes other benefits. No special benefits are paid on yearly wages in excess of $2,000.
When the accident results in the death of an employee, the widow, children, or dependent relatives are paid as follows:
If death results before the expiration of 16 weeks, three years' average wages, but not less than $1,500 nor more than $4,000.
If death results between the end of the sixteenth week and the end of the fifty-second week, two years' average wages, but not more than $3,000, minus all the disability benefits that have been previously paid. In the event of the death of an unmarried person without dependent relatives, reasonable medical expenses are paid, and $100 for burial.
This department is administered by a board composed of five members appointed by the associated companies. Their decision is ordinarily final; but if any employee is dissatisfied he may appeal to the trustees of the Employees' Benefit Association, half of whom are elected by the employees. Their decision, reached by a majority vote of those present, is final.
The pension system was inaugurated in 1908 by the International Harvester Co., and for this purpose the treasurer of the company has an allowance of $100,000 a year. If the pensions should exceed this amount in any one year, the rate will be proportionately reduced to come within the appropriation, unless the board of directors should otherwise order. All male employees that have been 20 years or more in the service of the company, on reaching 65 years, may at their own request or at the discretion of the pension board be retired and receive a pension. On reaching 70 years of age they must be retired unless they hold executive positions. All women employees on reaching 50 years of age, after 20 years of service, may be retired, and on reaching 60 years must be retired. A temporary absence because of illness or reduction of force does not count against continuity of service unless it exceeds six months. The amount the pensioner receives is 1 per cent of the average annual earnings during the 10 years preceding retirement for each year of active service, but in no case is the pension to be less than $18 a month or more than $100. Thus an employee receiving an average of $800 a year the last 10 years of work, who has been at work for 25 years, is entitled to $200 a year; but this sum is less than $18 a month, so he receives $216 a year. The pension board has discretionary power in continuing allowances to widows and orphans. The acceptance of a pension does not prevent the recipient from engaging in other pursuits not prejudicial to the interests of the company. The pension fund is administered by a board of five, appointed by the directors of the
company. In July, 1910, after nearly two years, there were 70 persons receiving pensions.
The Employees' Benefit Association was organized by the company at the same time as the pension system. The company makes a large annual appropriation, ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, according to the number of members, and agrees to advance the necessary funds for benefits, to guarantee the safety of the fund, and to pay 4 per cent interest half yearly on the average balances. The company's contribution is used primarily for the expenses of conducting the association; whatever is left may be used for benefits, but every cent the employees contribute goes for benefits to members. A board of trustees of 30 members, 15 of whom are elected by the members of the association, one from each works, has general charge of the affairs of the association and appoints the superintendent. The superintendent has under his direction all of the business of the association.
All employees of the company who apply are members of the association. Membership is divided into two classes, A and B. Class A includes all members not employed at the manufacturing plants or mines and all those not entitled to benefits from the industrial accident plan. Class B includes all those covered by the industrial accident insurance. They receive benefits for sickness, injuries, and deaths, except injuries and deaths incident to their employment. Practically any employee who passes a satisfactory medical examination may join. The death payment for those over 45 years of age is less. The contributions from class A are 13 per cent of wages received, from class B, 14 per cent of wages, deducted semimonthly from their pay. Members of class B in addition must make small monthly contributions to increase the accident insurance, as has been noted elsewhere.
The sick benefits are one-half pay for a period of 52 weeks, except for the first week. At the expiration of that time the beneficiary is entitled to no further benefits except death benefits. If he resumes work with the company, he may enter the association again as any other new employee. The accident benefits are the same as sick benefits, but class B receives these only for accidents off duty. There are special benefits in case of accidents such as the loss of feet or hands or eyes.
In case of death due to sickness, the benefits equal one year's aver. age wages; of death caused by accident, the benefit amounts to two years' average wages. Death benefits are paid by the association to class B only in case of death from accident while off duty, as the industrial insurance covers accidents resulting in death while on duty. An unmarried person in class B, by contributing one-quarter of 1 per cent of his wages, may entitle the beneficiary named in his application to receive accident death benefits, i. e., two years' wages. Under