Citation Mills C (2008) The Emergence of Statutory Hygiene Precautions in the British Mining Industries, 1890-1914. Historical Journal, 51 (1), pp. 145-168. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=HIS; https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X07006619
Abstract It will be fifty years in 2008 since Oliver MacDonagh suggested that the adoption of new responsibilities by the state in the early nineteenth century was an inevitable response to the social consequences of the industrial revolution, and impervious to ideological and philosophical influences. This article revisits MacDonagh's model by examining the emergence of occupational health reform in the British mining industry in the early twentieth century. Until the introduction of statutory measures in 1905 to protect miners against developing silicosis and basic sanitation provisions to prevent cross-contamination of disease, state regulation of working conditions prioritized the prevention of accidental injuries. It is argued that this decisive shift in the scope and nature of government intervention can be understood as part of a process of institutional expansion of mining regulations that broadly parallels MacDonagh's model. Yet the precise details of when, and how, health reform emerged and the nature of these specific regulatory controls were influenced by a variety of factors, including visibility of risk, human agency, economic performance of the industry, and contemporary thinking in political economy.
Keywords Mining; Occupational Health; Hookworm; Mine safety Great Britain History 19th century; Mine safety Great Britain History 20th century; Mine safety Law and legislation Great Britain History 19th century; Mine safety Law and legislation Great Britain History 20th century; Miners Protection Great Britain History 19th century; Miners Protection Great Britain History 20th century