chapter  3
Legislation, Regulation and Health and Safety
Pages 24

Diversity and protection of vulnerable people in the workplace is not new and has been evident in health and safety extending back to the nineteenth century, when legislation was introduced to provide protection to workers. The Health and Morals ofApprentices Act 1802 was introduced in an attempt to provide some regulation for pauper children in the textile industry. At this time children were exploited as cheap labour. In 1819 the introduction of the Factory Act 1819 ruled that children under nine years of age were not to work in cotton mills. Furthermore, children working in other factories were restricted to an 1 1-hour maximum working day. It was not until 1833 when Althrop’s Factory Act limited the hours that children could work and established four factory inspectors to oversee the Act. By 1842, with the introduction of the Mines Act 1842, the employment of women and children under the age of 10 to work underground was prohibited. It still showed the exploitation of the vulnerable in high-risk manual labour work and there was no consideration given to women of childbearing age. Further progress was made in 1901 with the introduction of the minimum working age being set at 12 years. In the same year trade boards were established to set minimum wages in specific industries. It was to be 36 years before the Factories Act 1937 was introduced, which restricted workers under 16 years of age to a 44-hour working week. But it was not until 1974 that the Health and Safety at Work , etc Act 1974 (HSWAlY74) provide2 legal protection to all workplaces. Exposure of vulnerable people to workplace hazards can be identified throughout history and even today there are those who are exposed to risks to their health and safety, albeit in different circumstances to earlier years.