Early Accident-Prevention Campaigns

10/30/2007 - 00:00 AM

  • Early Accident-Prevention Campaigns
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A campaign with prizes

In 1956, Italy's five telephone companies (STIPEL, TELVE, TIMO, TETI and SET) launched the first in a series of competitions, offering prizes in attempt to encourage accident prevention. More than 4,000 employees took part in the inaugural contest.
Accident-prevention campaigns in the workplace were in full swing in the 1950s, as new legislation came into force and a large number of new employees joined the workforce. By 1957, the five telephone companies employed 25,000 people, 10,000 more than in 1945.
Accident-prevention legislation that came into force in 1956 was a concrete expression of the Constitutional Charter, which mentioned the physical and ethical "protection" of employees.

A booklet and a film

In 1957, the National Association of Telephone Company Concessionaries (ASCOT) printed thousands of copies of an illustrated accident prevention guide.
Designed to slip into the pocket, the 100-page guide covered everything a telephone worker needed to know to stay safe: how to use tools, handling and transporting materials, how to carry out work on the network, at switchboards and on the switching system, preventing and putting out fires, driving company vehicles, etc.
The booklet also offered useful advice on first aid in the case of incident or injury, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, bandaging, how to deal with fractures and burns, and what to do for electric shock victims. The booklet was illustrated with clear diagrams, some of which can only be described as dramatic.
More dramatic still was a 1962 film commissioned by STIPEL from director G. Ascani, on the hidden dangers of electricity, titled "The Invisible Peril".

Figures

As part of its accident-prevention drive, the company periodically carried out surveys of the situation. In early 1964, the TETI company collected data on the previous five years and set targets for the future. In the April 1964 issue of house organ Notiziario TETI, we read:

  • Falls 1212
  • Electric shocks 97 (1 death)
  • Burns 136
  • Acoustic shocks 54
  • Falling items 214
  • Handling materials 1151 (1 death)
  • Switchboard installation 164
  • Road accidents 656 (2 deaths)
  • Other 863

Falls and handling materials were the categories that had the highest numbers. In 1959, the company logged 62.2 accidents every million working hours; by 1963, this figure had fallen to 44 accidents. TETI set a target of lowering the number to between 20 and 30 incidents per million working hours.