Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Bone-crushing Mill

4 February 1882

A boy of fifteen named Radhoo Saitoo began working at five in the evening at his place of employment, a bone-crushing mill in Bombay, India. At seven the next morning - Radhoo had been working fourteen hours at a stretch - one end of his dhoti got caught in a wheel. The boy's body was carried over the wheel and his bones were crushed in the mill. The Coroner of Bombay held an inquest on the boy's death. It turned out that the mill, employing as it did less than 100 hands, was not subject to the regulations of the Indian Factory Act of 1881. The machinery was inferior and unprotected. The Coroner' report linked the danger of such accidents to the organization of the workplace and worktime: 'instances of severe mutilation have occurred by the attendants on machines in motion dropping upon them while in a sleepy state.'  He suggested to bring small factories under the legislation of the Factory Act.

Quoted from: Aditya Sarkar, 'The Work of Law: Three Factory Narratives from Bombay Presidency, 1881-1884' in: Labour Matters. Towards Global Histories (New Delhi 2009)