Problems and Reform at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory New York Factory Investigating Commission



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REFORM:
SPRINKLERS
LAW: In 1911, sprinklers were still not required in New York City buildings.
TRIANGLE: The Asch building contained no sprinkler system.
REFORM: 1912, a law was passed to require an automatic sprinkler system in buildings over seven stories high, which had more than 200 people working above the seventh floor. A sprinkler system would have cost the Asch Building about $5000, but probably would have led to no lives lost at Triangle.
FIRE DRILLS
LAW: Fire drills were not required to be conducted.
TRIANGLE: The Triangle Shirtwaist Company never conducted a fire drill.
REFORM: Fire drills must be conducted at least once every three months.

OTHER REFORMS
NUMBER OF OCCUPANTS: The number of occupants would be limited to the number that could safely escape from the building in the event of a fire.
FIRE ALARMS: A fire alarm signal system must be installed in all buildings over two stories, which employ more than 25 people above the ground floor.
WASTE: Waste (i.e. fabric) in buildings must be deposited in fireproof receptacles. No waste would be allowed on the floor.
ELEVATORS: All elevator shafts in all city buildings must be enclosed (those at the Asch Building were not, which is why some of the women were able to jump down the shaft during the fire).
CHILD LABOR: The number of hours children could work would now be limited and those under 16 could not operate dangerous machinery. Those under 14 would not be allowed to work in factories at all.
ACCIDENTS: All industrial accidents and poisoning (such as lead) must be reported to the state.
CONDITIONS: Also, buildings must have “suitable and proper” ventilation and restrooms, and proper lighting.
HOURS: Women could work no more than 54 hours a week (In 1909, the striking shirtwaist workers had demanded a closed shop, better pay, better conditions, and a 54 hour work week.)


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