. . . . Mr. Thomas. . . . Mr. Chairman, my name is Fred C. Thomas. I am the Director of Industrial Safety with the Minimum Wage and Industrial Safety Board of the District of Columbia.
The function of the Board is twofold. One, as its title says, for minimum-wage, 8-hour-day law, and so forth, for employees; that is private employees in the District of Columbia. It does not take in, of course, the Federal or District Government.
If I may say so, Mr. Chairman, this subject has been covered so thoroughly by the previous speakers, I would like to take another line and point out that even in a community such as the District of Columbia, which is not recognized as an industrial city, such as Detroit, that last year we had 23,026 injuries; 8,444 of those were lost-time injuries. You have some idea of the amount of cost to the employers and to the Government by the fact that the average lost-time injury, according to the Labor Department statistics, is 16 days. That really runs into a terrific amount of lost time in production, which means tying up equipment and tools, and costs industry huge sums of money every year.
In the previous year the injuries in the District of Columbia in private industry were 26,005, with 56 fatalities.
Mr. [Augustine B.] Kelley [Chairman of the Subcommittee to Investigate Aid to the Physically Handicapped]. Fifty-six?
Mr. Thomas. Fifty-six; yes, sir. That is the number of private employees fatally injured out of around 180,000.
Now, I have with me Mr. Andy Bryson, this gentleman here, who lost his arm in an extractor in a laundry plant.
Mr. Kelley. Laundry?
Mr. Thomas. Yes sir. An extractor is a centrifugal device which extracts the moisture from the linen in the process of drying, and many of them are manufactured with what is referred to as an interlocking device which controls the starter of the inside basket. Until the cover is placed down you can't start or open it until the basket has come to a stop. Many of these devices were permitted to become inoperative, and no devices were built into many machines. . . .
Mr. Kelley. Does the war have anything to do with the neglect?
Mr. Thomas. At present time it does, but many of these machines are 10 or 15 or 20 years old, so it doesn't affect them. They could have been changed before the war, but today it is a factor. It is difficult to get the equipment and make the installation. . . .
This gentleman lost his arm in operating this machine because there was no device on it. This particular machine was originally designed with an interlocking device which was allowed to become inoperative from lack of parts, and maybe it would be well to describe, if the chairman wishes, just what happened.
Will you describe, Mr. Bryson, what happened to you when the accident occurred?
STATEMENT OF [ANDY] BRYSON, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. Kelley. Go ahead, Mr. Bryson.
Mr. Bryson. After loading we got orders not to let the sheets fall out and tear out. One of them fell out, and I had to knock it back in because I couldn't pull the door. It wouldn't close, and when I hit it it wrapped around my arm and pulled it in the shaft and pulled it off.
Mr. Kelley. Pulled it completely off?
Mr. Bryson. Yes.
Mr. Kelley. Has the company given you anything today? Are you still employed there?. . . .
Mr. Bryson. Yes.
Mr. Kelley. At a reduction of wages?
Mr. Bryson. They cut my salary all right. . . . Cut it from $25 to $18. . . .
STATEMENT OF LEON MACON, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. Thomas. The other gentleman, Mr. Chairman, is Mr. Leon Macon, and he has lost four fingers on his left hand in a power-driven circular saw. . . .
Mr. Kelley. There should have been a guard. Did it have?
Mr. Thomas. There should have been a guard; yes, sir. Of course, I would like to point out that our division is limited in its inspection force. We have three inspectors, one of whom was put on within the last year, and we haven't had the funds to put out the literature. . . .
Mr. Kelley. How often can they get around to your plant?
Mr. Thomas. Approximately twice a year.
Mr. Kelley. That isn't enough.
Mr. Thomas. . . . This particular piece of equipment, since the accident occurred, has been dismantled and another saw they had on the premises installed. A guard was provided; it wasn't on the machine when the inspector made the inspection but was installed while the inspector was there.
Do you care to tell the chairman how this accident occurred?
Mr. Macon. We were working on some 2 by 8's, making 2 by 4's out of them; the length of them was 18 feet, and it took three men to work them. One man had to push the timber through and one pull it out; the other had to hold it against the blade of the saw so it could make it a good cut. I was holding the timber against the blade with a stick and it struck a knot opposite my hand and pushed my hand right in the blade. . . .
Mr. Kelley. What did they do for you?
Mr. Macon. I am drawing compensation. . . . I still have got to have some additional work done on my hand; there is a splintered bone in it.
Mr. Kelley. Will they continue your job?
Mr. Macon. They offered me a job as night watchman, from 5 o'clock in the evening until 8 o'clock in the morning.
Mr. Kelley. On salary or by the hour?
Mr. Macon. On a salary, $25 a week, 7 days a week.
Mr. Kelley. That is a lot less than you were paid before, isn't it?
Mr. Macon. Yes, sir. . . .