This section is from the "Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management" book, by Oscar E. Perrigo. Also see Amazon: Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management.
Still another adjunct to the organization of the modern machine shop that is productive of much good is the Emergency Room, wherein the accidentally injured employee may be quickly and properly treated. Where there exists a Mutual Aid Association, as suggested in the beginning of this chapter, this department will naturally come under the supervision of the physician of that association, who will instruct a suitable attendant in the duties of his position. He may also, at stated times, inspect the shops to ascertain if proper safeguards exist and are in proper use in and about the shops, such, for instance, as that all projecting set screws in collars and couplings on shafts are properly protected; that gears are provided with suitable coverings; that saws are properly covered with guards; that rapidly revolving cutters are guarded by mica or glass; that the eyes of the men working where they are liable to injury from chips or flying bits of metal are protected by goggles; that they are also used as a protection in the grinding room where particles of emery are liable to injure them. These and many of similar nature must be looked after, yet when all this is attended to faithfully men are still liable to accidental injury, and for these emergencies proper facilities for rendering first aid to the injured are of very great importance, as it not infrequently occurs that the harm done by waiting for the arrival of a physician or surgeon may be of greater consequence than the original injury. This is particularly the case where there is much loss of blood, as it is also in cases of sudden sickness as cholera morbus and similar affections. Such cases are occurring every day even in cities where a physician may be located within a block or two but may at the moment be absent from his office. The author remembers a case in which the workman died before medical aid could be obtained, although there were three physicians having offices within a radius of from fifty to two hundred yards of the shop, but all, unfortunately, absent at the time.
The work to be performed by such an Emergency Department is usually of a very simple nature. The equipment of such a room will naturally include a cot bed, a stretcher, a suitable medicine cabinet, and a portable case that may be easily carried to an injured man in any part of the works. There should be in this room a stationary wash bowl supplied with hot and cold water, and a plentiful supply of towels, bandages, and the usual surgeons' dressings, such as iodoform gauze, absorbent cotton, adhesive plaster, isinglass plaster, powdered iodoform, etc.
The medicine cabinet should contain such convenient remedies as tincture of arnica, Jamaica ginger, camphorated tincture of opium (paregoric), chloroform, camphor, peppermint, aromatic spirits of ammonia (a restorative), whiskey, witch hazel, vaseline, a liniment of equal parts of chloroform and aconite, another of the same with one half the quantity of sweet oil added, a diarrhoea remedy composed of equal parts of tincture of opium, spirits of camphor, and tincture of rhubarb, dose 40 drops, and such other remedies as the supervising physician may direct.
There should also be at hand a pair of straight and a pair of curved scissors, surgeons' needles and silk or gut, two medicine glasses, a four-ounce graduate, one each table, dessert, and tea spoons, two tumblers, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, chloride of mercury tablets for making an antiseptic solution for cleansing wounds, a white enameled ware basin or bowl for holding the same, a tourniquet for arresting the flow of blood, a pair of small forceps, and such other instruments and appliances as directed by the physician.
The portable case which the attendant may carry with him to any part of the works should contain only such articles as are likely to be needed in dressing a wound, stopping the flow of blood from a severed artery, relieving the convulsive cramps of cholera morbus and similar sudden affections, or restoring a patient liable to faint from loss of blood.
There should be an electric call bell in the Emergency Room, connecting with push buttons in each department of the plant, by means of which the attendant may be quickly called to any part of the works. On responding to such calls he will always carry the portable case above described. These cases may be purchased complete, fitted with such appliances and medicines as may be desired from the wholesale drug and supply houses.
Aside from the first cost of fitting up and purchasing the proper appliances for such a room, the cost of its maintenance is principally in the wages of the attendant, which may be very moderate in amount and whose instruction may be a part of the duty of the contract physician of the Mutual Aid Association. It may frequently happen that a young man studying medicine under this physician will give his services for the use of the Emergency Room as a study, and the value of the practice he may obtain in attending the men of the establishment, as this will be of a nature to add much to his practical knowledge in the profession he has chosen.
In proportion to the benefits conferred, the expense of maintaining such a department is nominal, and should not deter any progressive manufacturer from organizing it. Many cases of sudden sickness may be relieved by very simple remedies if taken in time, and the man returned to duty in an hour or two that might otherwise require days and weeks for recovery. Many cases of accidental injury may be saved from fatal results by prompt attention, or from prolonged suffering by the timely aid of the emergency attendant. Once such a department is organized and its good effects and uniform benefits observed and appreciated, it will become a very popular adjunct to the manufacturing establishment, and one that owner and employee alike will feel cannot be dispensed with. Such has been the experience of manufacturers who have organized such a service, and such will probably be that of any whose care and consideration for their employees induces them to establish it in their shops.