What Were Working Conditions in the 1800s Like?
Working conditions in the 1800s were very poor. Children were often expected to work in very poor conditions as well.
Businesses such as factories and mining companies required extensive working hours. The average shift would last 12 to 14 hours long with extra time added on during peak business periods. Workers were often told to clean their machines during their lunch breaks. The wages were extremely low in the 1800s. The women and children made far less money then the men did. This is the main reason children and women were hired more then men. Because of this, men often had to be supported by their wives and children.
Workers wee often abused by those that were in charge at the factories. They were often hit with belts when they didn’t do their job correctly. Iron weights were hung around children’s necks, and they were even dowsed in water to stay awake. There were often fines imposed on workers for doing simple things. Whistling, talking or leaving the work area without permission could cause the worker to obtain a fine. Not cleaning a machine was seen as an offense, as well. Accidents were also very common since working conditions were so dangerous.