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Paper Assignment: Triangle Fire - Essay Example

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Triangle Fire––A Fire That Changed the History Introduction Industrial disasters are products of lack of safety measures, carelessness of uneducated and untrained workers, and cost-cutting tactics of organizations. To some extent, these failures are inevitable due to unforeseen circumstances…
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Paper Assignment: Triangle Fire
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Download file to see previous pages Consequently, many valuable lives are lost and financial losses are incurred. Among these is one of the biggest tragedies that shook United States in 1911 and took 146 labor lives. It is considered to be the most significant calamity that took place during the Progressive Era. The fire which began with a tiny flame in a container of garment scraps and waste rags took America by storm within a short span of three minutes (Triangle Fire). This paper critically evaluates the causes and consequences of the Triangle Fire as well as other similar catastrophic events, and provides a detailed comparative analysis between them. The Causes and Aftermath The conditions of slums in New York were worsening day by day, making it compulsory for household members, including women and children, to work in hazardous factories for the sake of money. Even then, the survival was difficult since pay scales were unfair and substantially low––up to only a few cents per day. Garment factories, being large in quantity, were also easier and more relevant for women to enter without pre-entry tests. As time passed, awareness of health and safety grew and new methods of protection were being introduced frequently by all multinational names. As a result, several machines and requirements, which are taken for granted today, were introduced back then, including clearly marked escape doors, fire security systems and water fighting equipment. The majority of organizations were subsequently discovered to be evading laws and regulations as part of their cost-reduction strategies (Riis). The consequences of this tragedy were devastating, leaving hundreds of people dead and dozens of factories out of business. However, this fire led to establishment and strengthening of labor unions including the popular International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union since a large number of female workers were burned in the sweatshop. Furthermore, a commission was formed by the New York legislature, namely the Factory Commission of 1911, which worked on enforcing safety standards and prevention plans. It was the first time when the creation of a dedicated division for prevention of fire was made mandatory for all enterprises. The Triangle Fire triggered a drastic shift towards urban liberalism and evolution of labor regulations. Soon, all factories were subject to several statutory requirements that were aimed at improving working conditions. The fire became a national threat, and soon all companies started adopting methodologies that could combat against potential losses, except a few which faced similar catastrophes as discussed below (Von Drehle 141). Similar Disasters Unfortunately, history could not educate everyone and similar tragedies continued to occur. In 1990, a fire erupted in New York at the Happy Land Social Club, killing 87 people including customers. With no fire alarms, emergency exits and sprinkler systems installed, and with windows sealed with iron bars, the massive crowd had only one door to escape. A year later, in North Carolina, a poultry factory went ablaze to ashes causing a death toll of 25 workers. Again, the fire exits were not indicated clearly and most of them were locked to avert employee theft. Other significant misfortunes have also occurred in recent years, including the fire in Kader Industrial toy factory located in Bangkok and aftermath of Wal-Mart’s lock-in policy for night shift workers in Texas. Nevertheless, these events were not as catastrophic as the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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