The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United Kingdom and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.(January 2023)
A factory inspector is someone who checks that factories comply with regulations affecting them.
The enforcement of UK Factory Acts before that of 1833 had been left to local magistrates, which had meant that any compliance with those acts within the cotton industry to which they applied was effectively voluntary. The initial role of the Factory Inspectorate was to ensure compliance with the limits on age and working hours for children in the cotton industry, thus protecting them from overwork and injury. Four factory inspectors were appointed, with powers equivalent to a magistrate, the right to enter at will any cotton mill at work, and powers to introduce regulations (without parliamentary approval) to effectively implement the Factory Act. : 41–42 The inspectors were assisted by 'superintendents', who had none of their powers (the lack of a right of entry being a particular weakness). The Factory Act 1844 made the superintendents into 'sub-inspectors' with the right of entry at will. : 86 By the same Act, the inspectors lost their magisterial powers and the right to make regulations was transferred to the Home Secretary; : 86 a duty to guard machinery was laid on employers (but only where the machinery was in areas accessed by children or young people), the Factory Inspectorate therefore becoming concerned with the adequacy of machine guarding. : 85
In 1893 Mary Paterson and May Tennant were the first two women to become factory inspectors earning £200 a year. Factory Inspectors had existed since 1833 but for the first sixty years they were all men.
A chronological list of Her (His) Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Factories:
|Chief Inspector||In post|
|Alexander Redgrave CB; b. 9 June 1818, d. 1894||1861–78 joint chief inspector with Robert Baker, chief inspector 1878–91|
|Robert Baker; b. 1803, d. 1880||1861–78 joint chief inspector with Alexander Redgrave|
|Frederick H. Whymper; b. 1828, d. 1893||1891–92|
|Richard Edward Sprague Oram; b. 1830, d. 8 March 1909||1892–96|
|Dr Arthur (Sir Arthur) Whitelegge; b. 17 October 1852, d. 25 April 1933||1896–1917|
|Sir Malcolm Robinson CB; b. 12 February 1857, d. 27 August 1933||1917–20|
|Robert Ernest Graves CBE; b. 22 December 1866, d. 21 May1922||1920–22 died in office|
|Sir Gerald Bellhouse CBE; b. 1867, d. 15 September 1946||1922–32|
|Sir Duncan Randolph Wilson CBE; b. 1875, d. 1 March 1945||1932–39|
|Sir Wilfred Garrett; b. 1880, d. 1967||1939–46|
|Howard Everson Chasteney; b. 9 August 1888, d. 18 February 1947||1946–47 died in office|
|Sir George Percy Barnett; b. 19 October 1894, d. 19 October 1965||1947–57|
|Thomas Warburton McCullough CB, OBE; b. 13 March1901, d. 28 December 1989||1957–63|
|Ronald Kington Christy CB; b. 18 August 1905, d. 29 August 1987||1963–67|
|William John Conway Plumbe; b. 17 March 1910, d. 9 November 1979||1967–71|
|Bryan Hugh Harvey CBE; b. 17 October 1914, d. 22 February 2004||1971–74|
|James (Jim) Dominic George Hammer CB; b. 21 April 1929||1975– 84|
|David Charles Thomas Eves CB; b. 10 January 1942||1985–88|
|A. J. (Tony) Lineham||1988–92|
|David Charles Thomas Eves CB; b. 10 January 1942||1992–2002|
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain. It is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom with its headquarters in Bootle, England. In Northern Ireland, these duties lie with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. The HSE was created by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and has since absorbed earlier regulatory bodies such as the Factory Inspectorate and the Railway Inspectorate though the Railway Inspectorate was transferred to the Office of Rail and Road in April 2006. The HSE is sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. As part of its work, HSE investigates industrial accidents, small and large, including major incidents such as the explosion and fire at Buncefield in 2005. Though it formerly reported to the Health and Safety Commission, on 1 April 2008, the two bodies merged.
A cotton mill is a building that houses spinning or weaving machinery for the production of yarn or cloth from cotton, an important product during the Industrial Revolution in the development of the factory system.
Established in 1840, His Majesty's Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) is the organisation responsible for overseeing safety on Britain's railways and tramways. It was previously a separate non-departmental public body, but from 1990 to April 2006 it was part of the Health and Safety Executive. It was then transferred to the Office of Rail and Road and ceased to exist by that name in May 2009 when it was renamed the Safety Directorate. However, in summer 2015 its name was re-established as the safety arm of ORR.
The Factory Acts were a series of acts passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom beginning in 1802 to regulate and improve the conditions of industrial employment.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that as of 2011 defines the fundamental structure and authority for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare within the United Kingdom.
Truck Acts is the name given to legislation that outlaws truck systems, which are also known as "company store" systems, commonly leading to debt bondage. In England and Wales such laws date back to the 15th century.
The history of fire safety legislation in the United Kingdom formally covers the period from the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801 but is founded in the history of such legislation in England and Wales, and Scotland before 1708, and that of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800.
Life in Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution shifted from an agrarian based society to an urban, industrialised society. New social and technological ideas were developed, such as the factory system and the steam engine, in this time period. Work became more regimented, disciplined, and moved outside the home with large segments of the rural population migrating to the cities.
The Factories Act 1961 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. At the time of its passage, the Act consolidated much legislation on workplace health, safety and welfare in Great Britain. Though as of 2008 some of it remains in force, it has largely been superseded by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and regulations made under it.
The History of labour law in the United Kingdom concerns the development of UK labour law, from its roots in Roman and medieval times in the British Isles up to the present. Before the Industrial Revolution and the introduction of mechanised manufacture, regulation of workplace relations was based on status, rather than contract or mediation through a system of trade unions. Serfdom was the prevailing status of the mass of people, except where artisans in towns could gain a measure of self-regulation through guilds. In 1740 save for the fly-shuttle the loom was as it had been since weaving had begun. The law of the land was, under the Act of Apprentices 1563, that wages in each district should be assessed by Justices of the Peace. From the middle of the 19th century, through Acts such as the Master and Servant Act 1867 and the Employers and Workmen Act 1875, there became growing recognition that greater protection was needed to promote the health and safety of workers, as well as preventing unfair practices in wage contracts.
The history of labour law concerns the development of labour law as a way of regulating and improving the life of people at work. In the civilisations of antiquity, the use of slave labour was widespread. Some of the maladies associated with unregulated labour were identified by Pliny as " diseases of slaves."
The Factories Act 1847, also known as the Ten Hours Act was a United Kingdom Act of Parliament which restricted the working hours of women and young persons (13-18) in textile mills to 10 hours per day. The practicalities of running a textile mill were such that the Act should have effectively set the same limit on the working hours of adult male mill-workers, but defective drafting meant that a subsequent Factory Act in 1850 imposing tighter restrictions on the hours within which women and young persons could work was needed to bring this about. With this slight qualification, the Act of 1847 was the culmination of a campaign lasting almost fifteen years to bring in a 'Ten Hours Bill'; a great Radical cause of the period. Richard Oastler was a prominent and early advocate; the most famous Parliamentarian involved was Lord Ashley who campaigned long and tirelessly on the issue, but the eventual success owed much to the mobilisation of support among the mill-workers by organisers such as John Doherty and sympathetic mill-owners such as John Fielden, MP who piloted the Act through the Commons. The 1847 Act was passed soon after the fall from power of Sir Robert Peel's Conservative government, but the fiercest opponents of all ten-hour bills were the 'free trade' Liberals such as John Bright; the economic doctrines that led them to object to artificial tariff barriers also led them to object to government restricting the terms on which a man might sell his labour, and to extend that objection to women and young peoples. Karl Marx, speaking at the International Workingmen's Association meeting in November 1864 said of it "This struggle about the legal restriction of the hours of labour raged more fiercely since; apart from avarice, it told indeed upon the great contest between the blind rule of the supply and demand laws which form the political economy of the middle class, a social production subjected to a foreseeing social control which forms the political economy of the working class. Hence the Ten Hours’ Bill was not only a great practical success; it was the victory of a principle; it was the first time that in broad daylight the political economy of the middle class succumbed ignominiously, ludicrously, before the political economy of the working class".
The United Kingdom Mines and quarries regulation in 1910 was a specialised topic in UK labour law, given the complexity of the legislation and seriousness of injuries that people suffered.
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The Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802, sometimes known as the Factory Act 1802, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom designed to improve conditions for apprentices working in cotton mills. The Act was introduced by Sir Robert Peel, who had become concerned in the issue after a 1784 outbreak of a "malignant fever" at one of his cotton mills, which he later blamed on 'gross mismanagement' by his subordinates.
The Cotton Mills and Factories Act 1819 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which was its first attempt to regulate the hours and conditions of work of children in the cotton industry. It was introduced by Sir Robert Peel, who had first introduced a bill on the matter in 1815. The 1815 bill had been instigated by Robert Owen, but the Act as passed was much weaker than the 1815 bill; the Act forbade the employment of children under 9; children aged 9–16 years were limited to 12 hours' work per day and could not work at night. There was no effective means of its enforcement, but it established the precedent for Parliamentary intervention on conditions of employment which was followed by subsequent Factory Acts.
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Mary Muirhead Paterson was a British factory inspector and philanthropist. She was one of the first two women factory inspectors and the first woman to prosecute in a Scottish court.