On the Job - Safety

AFC 341-S8-I9 Hosiery Mill; Hines' Studio Collection 1914-1919.jpg

A photograph of the inside of an unknown hosiery mill in London between 1914 and 1919. It depicts women working on knitting machines and shows the completed stockings piled. AFC 341-S8-I9. Hines' Studio Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Western Libraries, Western University.

Hosiery factories were a dangerous workplace. Women faced floors that were slick with oil, dangerous machines that produced loud noises for the entirety of shifts, quickly turning pulleys and belts that could catch hair or clothing, and expectations that caused them to run themselves ragged. There was very little attention paid to health and safety by management and instead these women were forced to discover safety hazards on the job and in turn engage in self-created safety procedures to keep themselves safe.

Somann describes the lack of health and safety rules and information that exisited in factories while she worked at London Hosiery Mills.

Somann explains how she felt unsafe at work sometimes due to the oil that pooled on the floors. 

Soddart recalls her fear of falling in the oil and into dangerous machines.

Stoddart describes the oil that would pool on the floors around the knitting machines and how it made running between machines very dangerous.

Stoddart lists some of the concerns she had about safety in the workplace.

Burns explains the scary situation surrounding the factory boiler.

Stoddart describes the noise made by the knitting machines.