Triangle Fire Reflection Occupational Health and Safety as a Community Health Issue

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire The workers in the garment industry faced numerous challenges in the early 1900s intheir jobs which led to numerous strikes to air their grievances. The conditions that led to strikes are longer working hours, poor pay, unsafe working conditions and absence of workers’ unions. The workers agitated for better pay, less working hours, safe shops and workers unions.
The Triangle fire is one of the deadliest fire accidents to occur in the workplace in New York’s city history. It claimed the lives of 146 people. Though the workers had succeeded in their demands for a better pay and short working hours and formation of a union, they had not achieved good working conditions. The conditions at work were still worse such as absence of safety precautions, few ventilation mechanisms. lack of fire drills, and poor fire exits i.e. locked doors.
The triangle fire broke out probably as a result of a mishandled lit cigarette or tossed match which led to an outbreak of fire on the building’s eight floor. Huge flames of fire lit up and spread quickly throughout the building. The factory’s poor conditions of the floor greatly influenced the start of the fire. The top management team were immediately notified of the accident and quickly escaped. However, the situation was unknown till late for workers on the ninth floor who continued their work until they saw fumes of smoke.
This caused panic. some run to the stairwell only to be blocked by intensifying flames. Some few were able to use the elevator and others crowded the little fire escape which unfortunately crumbled due to the excessive weight crushing almost 100ft to the ground. Unfortunately the remaining exit was a locked door whose key was carried by a foreman who did nothing to help the situation. Some of the workers resulted in jumping through the windows of the now fully fire encroached building. The fire outbreak led to the loss of the lives of 146 workers.
The fire department also is to blame for the loss of life. The response to the fire outbreak was slow and ineffective. Proper strategies were not in place to save lives since some people resulted in jumping through the windows. The department failed initially to ascertain that the factory had adhered to safety standards.
The triangle fire served as an important benchmark for future laws regarding fire safety standards. It influenced immensely on the formulation of safety laws across the states regarding safety in the workplace. The tradition negligence of the employees’ safety in the workplace by the employer has arisen to be a thing of the past. Every employee nowadays has the right to demand to work in a safe environment. The tragedy has also served to sensitize employees not to be ignorant on their safety standards at the workplace.
The triangle fire tragedy has also enlightened the general public on the required safety standards. It has also created public awareness on the recommended actions to take in case of a similar or related tragedy hence created better disaster preparedness. Also, it served to show the importance of a well-equipped and trained fire department in response to fire outbreaks.
Works Cited
PBS. Triangle Fire. Retried on February 2015. .