Company Servants' welfare
The "Safety Movement"
Working on the railways has always been incredibly dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. Responsibility for staff safety was initially considered to be solely a personal matter and accidents resulted in many injuries, from the minor to the loss of limbs and often death. Accident rates were rising alarmingly at the beginning of the 20th century and so, in 1912, the Government appointed a Departmental Committee to investigate the situation. It would appear that the outbreak of war in 1914 brought an end to the committee and no report was produced, it did however serve to focus the minds of the various railway companies on the subject.
Sir Felix Pole had been made head of the GWR Staff and Labour Department in 1912 and, following his reading of an American booklet by George Bradshaw entitled Prevention of Railroad Accidents, he decided that the GWR should implement a staff safety campaign. Being editor of the Great Western Railway Magazine at the time, Pole commissioned an E.S. Hadley to write a series of illustrated articles looking at various aspects of safe, and unsafe, working practices. The first article was published in August 1913, thus initiating the very successful GWR Safety Movement. Similar articles continued to appear now and then for many years in the magazine, but the first series were gathered together into a 48 page booklet in 1914, a copy of which was 'Presented by the Great Western Railway Company to each of their 80,000 Employees'.
First edition, published in 1914
Printed by Andrew Reid & Co., Ltd. ,Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Pages 8 and 9
Pages 12 and 13
Dated February, 1936
Printed by Cheltenham Press Ltd.
Published by the British Transport Commission