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It will be seen that the plan and its administration is very simple, and in this, in a great measure, lies its success, while the mutual interest of all its members insures its smooth working and efficiency. Upon organizing such a society each member pays as an entrance fee the first four weeks' dues, and benefits commence as soon as occasion demands.
First Aid to Injured Employees
Still another adjunct to the organization of the modern machine shop that is productive of much good is the Emergency Room, wherein the accidentally injured employee may be quickly and properly treated. Where there exists a Mutual Aid Association, as suggested in the beginning of this chapter, this department will naturally come under the supervision of the physician of that association, who will instruct a suitable attendant in the duties of his position. He may also, at stated times, inspect the shops to ascertain if proper safeguards exist and are in proper use in and about the shops, such, for instance, as that all projecting set screws in collars and couplings on shafts are properly protected; that gears are provided with suitable coverings; that saws are properly covered with guards; that rapidly revolving cutters are guarded by mica or glass; that the eyes of the men working where they are liable to injury from chips or flying bits of metal are protected by goggles; that they are also used as a protection in the grinding room where particles of emery are liable to injure them. These and many of similar nature must be looked after, yet when all this is attended to faithfully men are still liable to accidental injury, and for these emergencies proper facilities for rendering first aid to the injured are of very great importance, as it not infr ently occurs that the harm done by waiting for the arrival of a physician or surgeon may be of greater consequence than the original injury. This is particularly the case where there is much loss of blood, as it is also in cases of sudden sickness as cholera morbus and similar affections. Such cases are occurring every day even in cities where a physician may be located within a block or two but may at the moment be absent from his office. The author remembers a case in which the workman died before medical aid could be obtained, although there were three physicians having offices within a radius of from fifty to two hundred yards of the shop, but all, unfortunately, absent at the time.
The work to be performed by such an Emergency Department is usually of a very simple nature. The equipment of such a room will naturally include a cot bed, a stretcher, a suitable medicine cabinet, and a portable case that may be easily carried to an injured man in any part of the works. There should be in this room a stationary wash bowl supplied with hot and cold
water, and a plentiful supply of towels, bandages, and the usual surgeons' dressings, such as iodoform gauze, absorbent cotton, adhesive plaster, isinglass plaster, powdered iodoform, etc.
The medicine cabinet should contain such convenient remedies as tincture of arnica, jamaica ginger, camphorated tincture of opium (paregoric), chloroform, camphor, peppermint, aromatic spirits of ammonia (a restorative), whiskey, witch hazel, vaseline, a liniment of equal parts of chloroform and aconite, another of the same with one half the quantity of sweet oil added, a diarrhea remedy composed of equal parts of tincture of opium, spirits of camphor, and tincture of rhubarb, dose 40 drops, and such other remedies as the supervising physician may direct.
There should also be at hand a pair of straight and a pair of curved scissors, surgeons' needles and silk or gut, two medicine glasses, a four-ounce graduate, one each table, dessert, and tea spoons, two tumblers, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, chloride of mercury tablets for making an antiseptic solution for cleansing wounds, a white enameled ware basin or bowl for holding the same, a tourniquet for arresting the flow of blood, a pair of small forceps, and such other instruments and appliances as directed by the physician.
The portable case which the attendant may carry with him to any part of the works should contain only such articles as are likely to be needed in dressing a wound, stopping the flow of blood from a severed artery, relieving the convulsive cramps of cholera morbus and similar sudden affections, or restoring a patient liable to faint from loss of blood.
There should be an electric call bell in the Emergency Room, connecting with push buttons in each department of the plant, by means of which the attendant may be quickly called to any part of the works. On responding to such calls he will always carry the portable case above described. These cases may be purchased complete, fitted with such appliances and medicines as may be desired from the wholesale drug and supply houses.
Aside from the first cost of fitting up and purchasing the proper appliances for such a room, the cost of its maintenance is principally in the wages of the attendant, which may
may be a part of the duty of the contract physician of the Mutual Aid Association. It may frequently happen that a young man studying medicine under this physician will give his services for the use of the Emergency Room as a study, and the value of the practice he may obtain in attending the men of the establishment, as this will be of a nature to add much to his practical knowledge in the profession he has chosen.
In proportion to the benefits conferred, the expense of maintaining such a department is nominal, and should not deter any progressive manufacturer from organizing it. Many cases of sudden sickness may be relieved by very
simple remedies if taken in time, and the man returned to duty in an hour or two that might otherwise require days and weeks for recovery. Many cases of accidental injury may be saved from fatal results by prompt attention, .or from prolonged suffering by the timely aid of the emergency attendant. Once such a department is organized and its good effects and uniform benefits observed and appreciated, it will become a very popular adjunct to the manufacturing establishment, and one that owner and employee alike will feel cannot be dispensed with. Such has been the experience of manufacturers who have organized such a service, and such will probably be that of any whose care and consideration for their employees induces them to establish it in their shops.
The Machine Shop Reading Room In discussing the question of costs in the machine shop in the previous chapters reference has been made to the fact that high salaried workmen will frequently do a given piece of work for less actual cost for labor than the same work would be done by a man earning only one half the daily wages. The matter was followed up with the additional advantage of employing good workmen by the fact that the more highly paid man occupied only the same space, used the same machine, and as he did his work in less than half the time the burden of shop expense was less than half that of the work done by his less experienced shopmate.
The natural inference to be drawn from these conditions, which may be met with every day in the machine shop and manufacturing plant, is that it pays to have skilful workmen.
In these days of advanced thought on mechanical as well as other subjects, it is one of the necessities of the times that if a workman is to get to the head of his class in a proper understanding of his work and the conditions under which he labors and by which he is surrounded, he must make an effort to become better educated, not only in his chosen line but in other branches related to it. This education cannot always be obtained in schools, since there are to-day in the shops many men who have not enjoyed the advantages of a technical education and there are likely to be many of the same class in the future.
Again, while the advantages gained by a technical training in the excellent schools of the present day are many, there are other and important advantages that should not be neglected, even by the technical graduate. These are the advantages gained by the systematic reading and study of technical and trade publications. They are for the most part filled with not only the newest but the most practical articles, descriptions, and essays that it is possible for their editors to obtain by a liberal outlay of money. They are not the com
pilations of what was the thought of years ago, but emanate from the brain and practical experience of men active in mechanical affairs, and selected for their practical utility by editors with a practical knowledge of the subjects of which they treat. They are, therefore, rich in theory, but richer still in live up-to-date practice.
While the bright mechanic of to-day usually subscribes to one or more of these publications relating particularly to his own trade or specialty, this is not sufficient to give him the broad-minded view of conditions and the experiences of others that he should have. Still, the expense necessary to obtain a number of these often will deter him from gratifying his desire for a broader outlook that their possession might give him.
For these reasons it would seem to be not only a matter of much benefit to the employees, but in an indirect though perfectly practical way an advantage to the employer, to institute a Reading Room for the employees where they may have all the advantages to be desired by a free opportunity to read and study the best there is published in their particular lines. It is true, as everyone will doubtless admit, that one's reading has much influence on one's thoughts and opinions. Surely the same may be said in respect to its influence upon one's everyday work, and the more liberal are the conditions in this respect the more will be the actual benefit both to employee and employer.
Every employer has it in his power to do something in this respect for the men that he employs. And the slight expense which he thus undergoes will have many and far-reaching effects. He will not only have better men, so far as their work is concerned, but better men in their knowledge of all that relates to it. He will have men more loyal to his interests; better satisfied with their positions and with more pride in the fact that they are a part of an establishment managed upon a scale of intelligent liberality and consideration of the circumstances and conditions under which they labor. And the spirit of loyalty thus engendered will go far towards the success of the establishment in so far as it lies with the employees.
In organizing a Shop Reading Room the first requisite is a good, light, clean room, in the office building if one there is available. It should be furnished comfortably but plainly, and with such furniture as will make it a pleasant place for the men to congregate. The room should be open during the noon hour and for two or three hours in the evening.
As to the class of literature to be provided, it may be said that it should not be confined to technical publications, but may well include the best local papers, excluding, of course, those of a sensational kind, which do vastly more harm than good among all classes of the workingmen of to-day. Good magazines of general literature should be on hand, as well as books of history,
biography, and technical works bearing upon the industries in which the men are engaged in their daily work.
The question of politics should be eliminated as far as it is possible to do so, both by the choice of literary matter and the discouragement of discussions of this nature. This should be particularly the case in view of the fact that there might be among the men a suspicion that the employer was endeavoring to impress his political opinions and prejudices upon them.
The expense of providing all the literature for a shop of two hundred men ought not to cost over eight or ten dollars per month. Many publishers will furnish their publications free of expense if their use is explained to them, and in various other ways may good and valuable periodicals and books be acquired for the use of the men.
There is another important use of the material in the Reading Room. This is that of circulating the books and periodicals among the employees for home reading, thus giving them free the advantages of reading matter that might not otherwise come in their way. It will generally be found that there are men in the shop who will act as librarian of the Reading Room, under the direction of the firm. A man of studious nature will naturally enjoy such a position and by various plans and his own personal interest in the scheme will do much to insure its success and to make it popular with the employees, and thus foster a fraternal spirit between shopmates which will be still further cemented by their common interest in the Mutual Aid Association described at the commencement of this chapter.
Carrying out the idea of education of employees still further, there may be instituted among the men during the winter months a series of shop talks or lectures on mechanical and kindred subjects, not only by public-spirited citizens outside the shop, but particularly by the owners and officers of the establishment, that will go far towards the enjoyment and practical education of the men, but also, what is of considerable practical importance, foster a spirit of interest, not to say common interest, between the owners and their workmen, that will bear fruit in increased loyalty and to the best good of all. These lectures may also be profitable when concerned with subjects of public good and town improvement, whereby the workmen may gain enlarged views of the duties of good citizenship and many other important duties not directly connected with the shop.
Another subject which will commend itself to the consideration of the younger mechanics will be a course of lessons in mechanical drawing and the use of plane geometry. These subjects are of great practical utility to young mechanics and at the present time every young man who aspires to become a first-class machinist is expected to be more or less proficient in them. Such lessons can usually be given by the chief draftsman or one of those working