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Work Accidents » History of dangerous jobs

There are not many of us who would turn up for work every day if we didnt have to. Given the choice, if money was not a problem, its likely that most of us would be sat on a beach, sipping a cocktail and soaking up the sun.

But life just is not like that and so off to work we go every morning to graft away so we can pay the bills. We might moan and whinge about it and not want to get up on a Monday morning but the truth is that things are not all that bad.

In fact, when you look back at the types of jobs that people did in the past, we probably quite lucky that our daily foray into the world of work does not expose us to a constant danger of personal injury or disease.

We might, if we are unlucky, be forced to make an accident at work claim at some point but the chances of that are fairly remote and, even if we do have to, there are companies like HappyClaim that can make the whole compensation claim process easy and cost-free.

However, it hasnt always been like that. In days gone by there were no provisions for making work accident claims and anybody who was hurt or crippled because of their job had to make do as best they could. And, when you examine the nature of the jobs that some people had to do, ending up with serious personal injuries was a very real possibility.

To get a better idea of how life has changed over the past centuries, the no win, no fee experts here at HappyClaim decided to take a look and some of the not so nice occupations that unlucky individuals have had to do throughout history to scrape a living.

The Tudors

We started way back in the times of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, 500 years ago, and found one particular job that, today, would result in untold numbers of accident at work claims for compensation as well as calls of outrage from numerous childrens charities.

The job in question was that of a whipping boy. Now, a whipping boy was a youngster who would be raised alongside a prince or princess for the purpose of being beaten every time the young royal misbehaved. The theory behind this somewhat strange practice was that a future king or queen had been chosen by God and so was too divine to be beaten by anyone other than the current ruler.

With a busy schedule of politics and entertaining to fulfil, the king or queen was rarely around to punish their own child and so it was left to the whipping boy to touch his toes in order to save the royal backside.

Nowadays, if one of our future monarchs kept a whipping boy, The Sun would have a field day, the NSPCC would let rip and no doubt the poor soul in question would be straight on the phone to make an accident at work claim for personal injury compensation. And who can blame him?

The Stuarts

Job prospects had not got a lot better a hundred or so years later and the Great Plague that swept Britain in 1665 didnt help matters much. More than 100,000 people died and London suffered terribly until the Great Fire of 1666 put an end to the death and disease.

People were dying quicker than graves could be dug and so the authorities decided to excavate large pits and throw in the copious amounts of bodies that were piling up in the streets. Somebody had to collect these bodies and commit them to the ground and that unfortunate task was the job of the plague burier.

Despite his exposure to dead and diseased bodies all day long, the plague burier would receive nothing more than a rag to tie around his face in order to keep out the stench. Back in those days there was no Personal Protective Equipment and no such things as accident at work claims for industrial disease.

It would have been more than handy if there were accident at work claims, especially when one considers that a plague burier was likely to survive only a few days in the job, but there wasnt, so widowed wives and orphaned children had to put all thoughts of compensation claims out of their heads and concentrate on scraping a living another way.

The Georgians

The Plague might have almost completely left the shores of Britain when King George I ascended the throne in 1714, but a whole new killer was on the horizon the Industrial Revolution.

With the huge improvements in technology and the boom of British industry, country folk flocked to the cities in their droves to work in newly established factories. For people who had spent their entire lives working the fields and living in small villages, the big, dirty cities must have been immensely overwhelming.

Not only did they have to have to put up with up with the never-seen-before pollution but they also had to spend their working days undertaking some pretty dangerous jobs. None of these jobs, however, were as dangerous as that of the mill scavenger.

The ideal candidate for the mill scavengers job was a child of about six years old, the smaller the better, and they would have spent their entire day scampering underneath the huge milling machines to collect the cotton that had fallen through and on to the floor.

These little youngsters were regularly caught up in the machinery and many were maimed and even killed, often in the most horrible and painful of ways. Health and safety regulations didnt exist to protect the welfare of employees and there was no such thing as an accident at work claim that could have made bosses think twice before exposing their staff to such risks.

Instead, there were queues of children desperate to scrape a living and as soon as one was chewed up by a milling machine there was another willing to risk serious personal injury to take their place.

The Victorians

Working conditions did get better as time went by but things still were not great for the working population of Great Britain when Queen Victoria was sitting on the throne for the last 63 years of the 19th century.

Work accident claims for compensation still didnt exist but some politicians were campaigning to make the workplace safer and their efforts were slowly but surely beginning to take effect. For some, however, changes would be too late.

The match girls were one such type of worker and their health was severely at risk from their job. All day they would stand on a production line, cutting wood to make matchsticks and dipping them in phosphorus. This chemical was highly dangerous and no protective masks or gloves were provided.

As a result, many of the 19th century match girls developed phossy jaw, a nasty condition which saw the jawbone quite literally rot away. With no way to make a personal injury claim against their employer to help them get the money for expensive surgery, these girls faced a bleak future of disfigurement and early death.

Work accident

Luckily, today the workplace is not such a dangerous place and thats largely due to the strict health and safety regulations that have been put in place by the authorities. Despite this, negligent bosses, unsafe working practices and carelessness do still result in numerous employees suffering personal injury at work.

If you are unlucky enough to have been hurt in a workplace accident, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim with HappyClaim. With many years of experience, we are the accident at work claim specialists and our panel of leading personal injury solicitors have helped people from all occupations and all walks of life to win damages.

We operate on a strict no win, no fee basis and we are proud that we have been successful in a huge percentage of all the cases we have taken on. We only use the best personal injury solicitors and we can help you make a cost-free personal injury claim no matter which corner of the country you come from.