Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Language of Death in Industrial Accidents

When, in 2017, the bomber at the Manchester Arena detonated his explosive device twenty two human beings were deprived of existence. Twenty three people died but, of the bomber who died, it could not be said that he was deprived of existence as he clearly chose it.
This description of death seems perfectly normal when describing a terrorist attack but would it be normal to use that expression in an industrial accident?
It might if it was considered that there was a person or organisation which was culpable in causing the death. but this is not now normal, largely because stringent safety requirements are imposed on industrialists

However, it was a normal concept two centuries ago in considering accidents in dangerous industries such as, but not limited to, coal mining.
In a T Directory of 1833 by John Sykes there is this report
An explosion took place in Felling colliery, by which six human beings were deprived of existence.
Another example in the same John Sykes Directory is this description of an explosion on Oct 11th 1799 at Lumley Colliery by which thirty nine human beings were launched into eternity
John Sykes also reports
An explosion took place, again at Lumley Colliery in 1843 when fourteen human beings were launched into eternity
another example at Lumley

Euphamisms for death still exist today with expressions like "kick the bucket" which stems from the hanging of criminals or this one from America which I particularly like "assume room temperature" which refers to normal body temperature of 37 degrees dropping after death to the temperature of the body's whereabouts eg 20 degrees room temperature
(see more here )

So, there  you have it. But look in again because I intend to make further enquiries and add more to this item

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