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Remembering Our Past: Photo Galleries That Look Back in Time at Work and Workers

They say the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and as philosopher George Santayana noted, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Many of the hazards faced by workers in 2014 are not new. OSHA regularly cites companies today for the same threats to safety and health that workers have faced for hundreds of years: blocked exits (the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire), respiratory hazards (the Hawk's Nest Tunnel tragedy), amputation hazards (meatpackers in the 1900s), having underage workers (child laborers captured by Lewis Hine) and mine explosions and collapses (Fairmont Coal Co.’s Monongah, W.Va., mine explosion).

Over the years, photography has been one of the most powerful tools for documenting hazardous workplace conditions and driving lawmakers and employers to take action.

Remember the past with these five photo galleries and let's not repeat it...

  1. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire – March 25, 1911
  2. The Hawk's Nest Tunnel Tragedy: The Forgotten Victims of America's Worst Industrial Disaster
  3. Dangerous Jobs: The Way We Worked Exhibit
  4. The Photographs of Lewis Hine: The Industrial Revolution and Child Laborers
  5. Fairmont Coal Co.: The Worst Mining Disaster in U.S. History


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