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concern for social justice and promotion of public welfare, the year 1914 for the field represented by this Department of the State government presents a new high water mark for this state.
INCREASE OF DUTIES Those familiar with the facts do not need to be told that back of the greater expenditures of 1914 was a far greater burden of duties and work laid upon the Department by laws enacted in the previous year. But to insure correct understanding of the former fact the latter needs to be emphasized. In last year's report were outlined certain new duties of large import which had just been laid upon the Department. Foremost among these were legislative functions to be exercised by the new Industrial Board, constructive investigation work by the new Division of Industrial Hygiene in the field of health and safety, and larger educational work in general. In addition to this, a great increase of duties in the field of inspection work was a conspicuous feature of the year. This resulted chiefly from the general revision in 1913 of the requirements of law relative to health and safety in factories, particularly with relation to structural conditions for fire protection, and an extension of mercantile inspection, theretofore confined to cities of the first class, to cities of the second class. So far as the former is concerned no new geographical territory was put under the Department's jurisdiction, but much more numerous and far more difficult regulations had to be applied to the existing territory, while in the case of mercantile inspection six cities were added to the Department's territory. As reflecting the larger duties thus imposed may be cited the fact that factory inspectors' orders with reference to health and safety during 1914 numbered 245,432 as against 75,729 in 1912,* and inspections and investigations in mercantile establishments increased from 17,589 in 1913 to 49,601 in 1914.
New duties in new fields and heavier duties in old characterized the Department's work in 1914 and constitute the background against which the larger expenditure of money in 1914 must be viewed.
* Orders were not compiled for 1913, but comparison with that year, were the figures avallable, would show a similar result.
GROWTH NOT HAPHAZARD OR ARBITRARY One further point in connection with the large developments of 1914 needs to be pointed out, if it is to be fully understood. If it seem that much attention is here given to this one subject it is not amiss to note that (aside from the genuine prominence of the fact itself in the year's record) at the date when this report is written the matter has become so much a subject of criticism that it becomes little less than the duty of the Commissioner of Labor to insure, if possible, a correct understanding of the whole matter.
The point here emphasized is that it is wholly incorrect to credit the development of 1914 to haphazard or groundless considerations. On the contrary it was deliberately authorized and directed by the Legislature following extensive and thorough investigation by legislative commissions, such investigation being only a response to awakened public opinion. To get the entire historical background, it is necessary to go further back than 1913. The Wainwright Commission on Employers' Liability, which went extensively into the subject of prevention of accidents, reported almost at the outset in 1910 that the inspection force of the Department was “obviously insufficient,” and after investigation declared in 1911 that the force for inspection to prevent accidents was pitiably insufficient to cope with the work prescribed for it under the law," and recommended an “increase in the number of factory inspectors in the Labor Department, particularly in the higher and better paid grades." And that Commission also recommended as another part of its program for improvement that there should be in the Department power to make rules to standardize the work of factory inspection and accident inspection," which is essentially the purpose of the Industrial Board created in 1913.
The movement to enlarge the resources and powers thus begun in 1910 was taken up and carried forward on a larger scale and with broader scope by the Factory Investigating Commission with two years of research resulting in the comprehensive overhauling of health and safety laws and reorganization of the Department in 1913, all of which is recent history.
Still further, note that neither in 1911 nor in 1913 was the
State of New York following a strange or arbitrary course. On the contrary, it was simply awaking in company with the country at large, to the inadequacy of laws and resources for such purposes dictated by the ideas of a generation ago, and joining in the general movement for industrial health and safety which has so notably characterized very recent years. It is indeed true that in 1911 New York public sentiment was rudely shocked into sensibility on the subject by a New York factory fire catastrophe which cost the lives of 146 employees. But while that shock gave impetus to the movement and served to emphasize certain aspects of the problem, it requires but a glance at recent experience in other states to reveal the general nature of the movement.
THE REORGANIZED DEPARTMENT During 1914 the reorganization of the Department along the lines laid down by the Laws of 1913 was completed. The result in outline is pictured in the chart on the following page. Each of the bureaus and divisions indicated is specifically provided for by the Labor Law in the sections noted except the Division of Appeals and the Subdivision of Engineering in the Bureau of Inspection, and the Administrative Division, which have been established under the general power to create bureaus and divisions in addition to those specified by law in sections 42 and 53.
Two of these specially created divisions are of more than ordinary significance as reflecting two of the most important general developments in inspection work during the year. Both these developments grew out of the more extensive and detailed regulations relating to factories, especially with relation to structural conditions, enacted in 1913. These new and important requirements, notwithstanding the fact that they were the product of extensive investigation and study, were found when applied generally, to involve not a few difficulties in the way of interpre tation and practical application, due to widely varying conditions in different localities and establishments, in addition to which many of them entailed considerable expense for employers. The result was a large increase in questions raised concerning, or appeals filed against, orders issued by inspectors. The Department could not but realize the difficulties of the situation for all con
ORGANIZATION OF NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Division of Factory Inspection
First District — Chief Factory Inspector ($ 55)
Second District — Chief Factory Inspector ($ 55)
Division of Mercantile Inspection - Chief Mercantile Inspector (8 58)
*Division of Appeals - Assistant Chief Factory Inspector (s 53)
Section of Medical Inspection (§ 61)
Director (8 60) *Subdivision of Engineering (8 53)
Division of Printing and Publications Chief of Division (8 63)
Legal Division — Counsel (8 48)
Administrative Division - Secretary to Commissioner (§ 42)
Bureau of Industries and Immigration — Chief Investigator (88 42, 151)
- Commissioner of Labor as Chairman ex officio (8 50)
• Established October 2, 1914. † Director appointed November 1, 1914.
cerned, and while its duty under the law left no choice but to enforce the provisions of law, it was felt that this should not be done in any arbitrary or unreasonable fashion. Accordingly in the latter part of the year the possibility of appeal from field inspectors' orders to the Department, which has always existed and been more or less utilized without formal establishment, was definitely announced to all employers by the printing upon all forms for orders sent to factory proprietors of the following notice:
IMPORTANT - If you believe these orders are unreasonable or unnecessary, and you desire to have them changed, modified or waived, you are not required to employ or retain a lawyer, architect, engineer, building expert or fire prevention expert. Make written protest within five days to the Commissioner of Labor, when, if the facts justify, a reinspection will be made and such action taken as the later inspection warrants.
Without relaxing intent or effort to enforce the law, the rule of reason was thus definitely applied to such enforcement. Experience under this practice soon revealed the desirability of establishing in New York City, for the first inspection district, a special division of appeals to handle such matters, and such division was accordingly set up on October 2.
The establishment of the subdivision of engineering was dictated by the amount of work which developed under the new requirements as to structural conditions in factories, especially the examination of plans for new buildings or alterations submitted under section 79-d of the Labor Law.
THE METHOD OF LABOR LEGISLATION The developments above noted as the ground for the creation of the division of appeals, illustrate a fundamental need in connection both with labor legislation and with administration of labor laws under present conditions.
This need is of a certain degree of elasticity as to details and application in order to insure effective as well as fair application of fundamental principles to immensely varying conditions and circumstances in different industries, communities or plants. Effective labor legislation today, especially along the lines of sanitation, safety and fire protection present highly complicated and technical problems, such as it is absolutely impossible for the Legislature as a whole to weigh or solve in detail, while at the