health and safety

Scaffolding collapsed

The period 1945-1995 saw major developments in health and safety policy including:

- Extension of health and safety legislation

- Deregulation agenda of the 1979-1997 Conservative Government

- Establishment of workplace safety representatives and safety committees

- European Union becomes the main source of new regulation

Resources available on this site related to health and safety:

-Read a learning narrative on health and safety, a paper written by Dave Lyddon, Centre for Industrial Relations, Keele University.

-View images relating to health and safety.

-Hear audio interviews.

-Search the collection for resources relating to "health and safety").

Examples of interview resources:

I was just coming towards the end of my apprenticeship... because conditions were pretty horrendous there. There was no safety equipment on the machines. I mean, if you had all your fingers and thumbs you was really unusual, and I mean that, really unusual. Ear defenders, they weren't even heard of, overalls, well, just weren't heard of. Machinery covered in snow because they were all outside, so when there was snow all you done was got a wheelbarrow or oil drum, filled that with scraps of wood, melted the snow and ice on it, and carried on until it shorted-out the electrics.

Allan Tyrrell describing his apprenticeship as a wood machinist in 1958. Read and hear more.

There were accidents. But when you consider the environment that they were in, there could have been some quite catastrophic accidents... You wouldn’t necessarily know how a razor blade is made, but it’s a thin strip of steel, that’s being whipped through a machine with grinding wheels there. And that’s going at probably ... well, certainly twelve hundred if not more, blades a minute. So it’s doing a hell of a speed. Obviously, if you were to touch it on top, it would really make a mess of you. But the machinery was guarded and I always said that the best guard that you’ve ever got is common sense. If you see a fly-wheel going ‘round, you know if you put your fingers in there it’s going to hurt. So you shouldn’t need to guard that. You need to guard it in case someone falls. Passes out or falls. But to stop people from putting their hands in, you’ve got to have common sense. You don’t try and injure yourself.

Anonymous interviewee. Read and hear more.

health and safety poster