Child Labour

By Joseph Goodall 8S1

Child Workers

Child labour was very popular during the Industrial Revolution as they provided cheap labour, with families being so poor the money was needed very badly hence sending their children to work in dangerous factories where they would often be beaten or sustain life threatening injuries.

Conditions

The children would work 13 hours a day from 5am - 9pm in dusty, hot conditions with the room temperature being kept a 60-80 Fahrenheit to keep the cotton in a good condition. The dust in the air often caused lung diseases and no treatment or safety rules were present making the factories even more dangerous, especially as the average age for child workers was 9-12 years.

Dangers of Factory Life

Small children were given the job of a 'Scavenger', their role would involve lying under the wheels and cleaning while they were working - this job was very dangerous with frequent accidents. Due to the nature of the factory jobs, many children were crippled by bent right knees and other deformities. Fines of 1-6 shillings could be imposed on 7 different offences including being sick and not being able to find a replacement worker!! Many accidents were caused by hair and aprons get caught in the machines that could easily rip limbs off.

Incidents at Work

In a cotton factory a young girl's apron got caught in the machine, spinning her round for several minutes. After she was dragged from the machine her right leg was found some distance away. Also in a cotton factory a child labourer was ill and therefore was not working quickly, the overlooker beat her to work faster but she collapsed and died hours later. Due to heavy lifting a young woman's shoulder popped out of place, with her ribs growing over the misplaced joint.
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Should Child Labour be Legal?

At the time many people disagreed with children working in dangerous factories with no health and safety although they needed the money and therefore didn't complain. Owners of the factories were often too powerful and often persuaded the government with the thought of more income for the country - even if it did come via children, this made it next to impossible for the public to complain and stop the child labour.


Nowadays children are not legally allowed to work until 14 and factories and other dangerous workplaces will not employ children due to the risks and inhumanity. It is illegal to force a child to work and severe punishments have been dealt to those who do. Although child labour has only been illegal since 1933 which states that no person under 14 should be employed by a company.