N&W in 1909--Hazardous jobs

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Sat Jan 3 12:12:28 EST 2009

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
January 22, 1909

Seven Times More Dangerous to Ride in Steam Than Electric Cars

Half of all trainmen meet violent death.
It is nearly seven times [nearly five times?]more dangerous to ride on a steam railroad than on a street car line.
If one is compelled to work for a railroad, the safest job is that of a crossing tender or watchman.
The greatest percentage of accidental deaths and injuries of railroad employees is among men under forth-five years of age.
These facts are brought out in a report on industrial accidents, prepared by Fredrick L. Hoffman* and issued by the bureau of commerce and labor. Out of 650,000* deaths from all causes reported in the registration area of the United States during 1906, railroad accidents caused 7,090 deaths, street cars, 1,488; mines and quarries, 1,523; horses and vehicles 1,524; machinery accidents, 565, and automobiles, 183. According to returns for 1906 of the Interstate Commerce Bureau, 3,929 railroad employes were killed as the result of railroad accidents, and 76,701 were injured. Railway trainmen, the largest group of railroad employes, numbered 300,000. Among this number 2,310 were killed, or nearly nine in every thousand [nearly eight?], and 34,989 were injured, or 122 [116.6?] in every thousand. Among 50,000 switch tenders, crossing tenders and watchmen, the fatal accident rate was 2.96 per thousand, and the injury rate 20.66 per thousand. Railway mail clerks were more fortunate, only 16 being killed and 77 injured out of 13,317. Mortality statistics of insurance companies, as set forth in the report, show that in a period of ten years, 29 per cent of the deaths among railroad conductors and engineers were from accidents; among railroad firemen, the percentage was 53.6*, among brakemen, 63.7 and flagmen and switchmen, 29.5. The highest mortality from accidents was among employees between the ages of 15 and 24, and the percentage was very small above the age of forty-five.
[*Blurred--the best interpretation is shown. So, the good 'ol days were not so good for some railroaders.]

Gordon Hamilton
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