CENTRAL AUTHORITATIVE PREVENTIONS.
The whole subject of Central Legislative action in regard to industrial diseases requires to be recast. The English were the first people to endeavor to do away with some of the evils con nected with industrial pursuits, and in 1s02 the first Legislative Act concerning the labor of children was passed, an Act from which all similar legislation relating to industrial occupations has taken origin. The time has come for revision of what has been done.
Revision of Factory Labor.
The Legislature might with advantage enlarge the powers of the certifying surgeon in the factories, to enable him to be of service beyond the mere duty of certifying as to age. In the Fac tory Act age is treated as though it were another term for strength, which we all know is a fallacious idea, and what is really wanted is, the correction of so great an error. To the health and the life of the operative, it is essential that the authority of the surgeon should be extended, and that strength as well as age should be brought into consideration. It is essential, I mean, that a surgeon when he sees a child put to a work which it has not the strength to carry out, should be able to say, " This shall not be; this child must be set to another and easier task." In further ex ercise of useful duties, it seems important that the powers of the factory surgeon should extend to the correction of other sources of danger, to the supervision of the health of the adult opera tives, and to the direction of the sanitary condition of the fac tory.
There are some other directions in which it would be wise to extend the powers of the factory surgeon. He ought to be en abled to carry out his duties in workshops as well as in factories. I think his power ought to extend further even than this; that it ought to reach into those places called work-rooms in private houses. In small shops and work-rooms more injury is inflicted than in the factory, and to let the young remain unprotected from the most dangerous forms of labor, on the mere pretence that they do not work in a place legalized as a factory, is a legislative fail ure of the saddest character.
To the application of remedies for each one of these errors we might surely, without hesitation, demand the service of the Legis lature.
A legislative reform is required in regard to the regulation of age at which half-time work should commence. The teachings of science are clear, that no child of either sex should be put to work at too early an age. Twelve years is the earliest age at which any labor should he commenced. Even then the kind of labor ought not to be indiscriminately left to the choice of the employ ers; it ought to be placed under the wise direction of educated medical men who know what can and what cannot be borne by the laborer.