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Printed as part of the Report of the Industrial Commission for 1918
The chemical industry in the State of New York has grown to such a degree and seemed to present so many dangers, both to the employer and employee, that an investigation was undertaken, by the Bureau of Inspection of the State Industrial Commission, to study those hazards which accompany the industry.
The reporting of occupational diseases, some of which terminated fatally, and the occurrence of fires and explosions, which re sulted in injury to human beings as well as great property loss, emphasized the need of a tentative survey to determine what rules were necessary to be added to the Industrial Code to reduce accidents and injuries.
Partly covering the industry, three hundred and thirty-five plants were visited and particular attention given to those conditions to which the present laws and rules do not apply, the following conditions being carefully studied, viz.: (1) The heating of factories with the fire hazards presented thereby; (2) Lighting of factories, and the location of switches, fuse plugs, and electric bells particularly where inflammable liquids were used and the danger of explosion was present; (3) Tanks, particularly those in which there was the possibility of the generation of excessive pressure; (4) Hazards due to breaking up of raw materials; (5) Spontaneous combustion occurring in certain materials; (6) Industrial poisoning not reported to the Industrial Commission because they are not included in the list enumerated in Section 65 of the Labor Law; (7) Causes of explosions which occurred during the course of the investigation; (8) Lack of knowledge, by the men employed, of the character of the materials handled as shown by the careless modes of handling both raw material and finished products; and, (9) General safe and unsafe practices.