superintendence not chargeable to a specific production department, and a very small amount of laboratory work. Administration and selling, which, with plant burden, make up the nonproduction manhours, include the activities of the central office executive and clerical personnel.

Total, all departments.

Comparison of Man-Hour Requirements, 1935 and 1946


A previous survey of labor requirements in the production of lumber and allied building materials measured the number of manhours required to produce 1,000 square feet of plywood in 1935 in a sample of 6 mills, representing, as in the current study, about 40 percent of total production. A comparison of the figures developed in the two surveys follows:

Man-hours per 1,000 square feet (38 inch basis)


16. 6

15. 1

1. 5


12. 4

Factory production.
Administration and selling...

A substantial decrease in total man-hour requirements, amounting to a little more than 25 percent, appears to have occurred over the 11-year period. Although the two measures are not strictly comparable because of differences in the samples and methods of data collection, technical men in the industry believe that they reflect with reasonable accuracy the trend over the period.

Since the earlier study attempted only the requirements breakdown as shown above, it is not possible to analyze by department the decrease in "factory production" requirements. A review of some of the improved machines and techniques suggests, however, that labor requirements have decreased to some extent in every department.

Among the more widely adopted improvements in the green end operations are mechanical barkers, which replaced the hand-wielded adzes; core lathes, for the rapid production of crossbanding veneers from cores of logs peeled down on the large primary lathes; and automatic clippers, which increase the rate at which an operator can cut veneer sheets from the continuous ribbon flowing from the lathe. Driers, although not basically changed, have been redesigned to permit faster operation. Significant improvements in the dry end operations include the automatic plugger, which cuts out a defect. and inserts a tight patch in a single operation, and the edge-gluer or tapeless splicer for joining fractional widths of veneer. Through

11. 8


Labor Requirements in Lumber Production, Monthly Labor Review, May 1937. (Reprinted as Serial No. R-529.)

'In plywood of 5 or more plies, crossbanding is the veneer used between the core (innermost layer) and the faces.

out the plant, special small lift trucks have replaced the hand propelled trucks for materials transportation.

The decrease in unit labor requirements over the 11-year period tells only part of the story of the industry's increased efficiency, however, because of the concurrent improvements in the quality and diversity of the product. Thus, the exterior type of plywood, which in early 1946 made up over 35 percent of total output and which has extended the use of plywood to entirely new fields, in 1935 had just been introduced commercially. Still more recent is the overlaying of veneer or plywood with resin-impregnated paper or pulp to improve appearance and surface wearing qualities. Moreover, improvement in quality and reduction in labor requirements have been accomplished in the face of a steady deterioration in the quality of peeler logs available,


The man-hours required at the plant for manufacture of plywood represent less than 70 percent of the total input of labor represented by a quantity of plywood delivered at the construction site.


A substantial number of man-hours are required to produce the principal raw material, Douglas fir peeler logs. The study in 1935 established that 6.2 man-hours were required to cut and haul 1,000 board feet of logs in the Douglas fir region. Thus, about 2.8 man-hours are required for the production of the 452 board feet of logs which, according to data collected by the Bureau of the Census, are consumed in the manufacture of 1,000 square feet of plywood. It is assumed, however, that this is somewhat less than the actual current logging requirement, because of the increasingly long distances over which logs must be hauled. Many of the Washington plants are unfavorably located with respect to the remaining sources of peeler grade timber, most of which are in central and southern Oregon, and log hauls of from 250 to 300 miles are not uncommon.10

No estimates are available of the man-hours required for the manufacture of glue, oils, sandpaper, and other materials, but it is thought the effect of these on total labor requirements is unimportant. Data

This figure will be revised when the results of a projected study of current labor requirements in the Douglas fir region are available.

Facts for Industry, Series M 13B-96; Softwood Plywood, March 1946, Materials consumption data, as previously mentioned, were obtained in the present study and agree closely with these Census figures. The latter are used, however, because they are based on a coverage of the entire industry.

10 Survey of the Pacific Coast Softwood Plywood Industry, U. S. Forest Service, April 1946.

An interesting result of this log-transportation problem has been the establishment of "green peeler plants" close to the supply of peeler grade logs in Oregon. These plants are in effect semiportable green end operations, the veneer sheets produced being shipped to the parent factory for drying and assembly into plywood; several economies result from this transportation of veneer rather than logs. There is, however, a difference of opinion in the industry as to the probable future of the green veneer mill, and the present survey therefore includes only operations at the parent plants.

on requirements for the production of the two principal types of gluesoy bean and phenolic resin-are, however, being assembled from trade association sources and will be incorporated in the forthcoming lumber bulletin.

Transportation of the finished product to the construction site, another supplementary requirement, takes a comparatively large number of man-hours because of the location of the plywood industry with respect to the major consuming areas. In 1932, the last year for which data are available, it was determined that the average rail haul of plywood shipments was 1,153 miles. By use of methods developed by the Bureau in the 1937 study" of labor requirements in rail transportation, it is estimated that the rail haul of plywood over this distance required about 5.0 man-hours per ton, or about 2.3 hours for 1,000 square feet.

Thus, considering only these major items of labor requirements, a minimum of 17.5 man-hours are represented in 1,000 feet of plywood panels deposited on the job site.

"Labor Requirements in Rail Transportation of Construction Materials, Monthly Labor Review, October 1937. (Reprinted as Serial No. R. 637.)

Work Injuries


Work Injuries in Manufacturing, Third Quarter 1946 APPROXIMATELY 128,800 employees of manufacturing establishments are estimated to have experienced disabling work injuries during the third quarter of 1946. This total represents 4,800 more injuries than occurred in the second quarter and 21,300 more than occurred in the first quarter of 1946. Compared with the third quarter of 1945, the volume of injuries in the corresponding period of 1946 showed an increase of 800. The total for the first 9 months of 1946, however, was over 73,000 less than for the first 3 quarters of 1945.

The final outcome of many of the third-quarter injuries was still unknown at the time the reports were prepared. It is impossible, therefore, to evaluate accurately the economic losses which these injuries may ultimately entail. At the time of reporting, however, it was known that about 400 of the injured workers had died and that about 5,400 others would have some form of permanent physical impairment. As a partial evaluation of the cost to society, it is conservatively estimated that the workers injured in the third quarter lost at least 2,576,000 man-days of work during the period because of their injuries. The value of this amount of working time in wages alone probably exceeds $20,000,000.

In contrast to the rising trend in the total volume of work injuries which has been evident during the second and third quarters of 1946, the ratio of injuries to actual time worked has remained remarkably constant. In the first 3 months of the year the average for all manufacturing was 18.2 disabling injuries for each million employee-hours worked. In the second quarter the average was 18.1, and it remained at this level during the third quarter. The increase in the actual number of injuries resulted directly from the rise in manufacturing employment rather than from any general relaxing of safety standards. Among the 116 industry classifications for which data were available, the best third-quarter safety record was achieved in the women's and children's clothing industry, which had an average of only 3.4 disabling injuries per million employee-hours worked. This was the third consecutive quarter in which this industry had a frequency

1 A disabling work injury is one which results in (a) death or (b) permanent physical impairment or (c) renders the injured person unable to work for a period of time beyond the day on which the injury occurred.

rate of less than 5, giving it a cumulative average of 3.9 for the first 9 months of 1946. The best cumulative average for the 9month period, however, was 2.8 for the synthetic rubber industry, which also had an average of less than 5 in each of the last 3 quarters. The third-quarter average of 3.7 for the synthetic rubber industry, however, was not quite as good as that of 3.6 for the electric lamp (bulbs) industry. The latter, as a result of its record of less than 5 disabling injuries in both the second and third quarters, had a cumulative frequency rate of 3.9 for the first 9 months of 1946, the same as that of the women's and children's clothing industry. Three additional industries which had third-quarter frequency rates of less than 5 were synthetic textile fibers, 4.0; aircraft, 4.8; and photographic apparatus and materials, 4.8.

In sharp contrast to these outstanding low injury-frequency rates the third-quarter average for combination saw- and planing-mill establishments was 70.6 disabling injuries per million employeehours worked. Plants engaged exclusively in sawmill operations had an average frequency rate of 60.4, and the wooden-container industry had an average of 50.2.

Comparisons between the second- and third-quarter injury-frequency rates of the various industry classifications indicated a slight tendency toward higher rates. Among the 114 classifications for which comparison was possible, there were 25 industries which had no significant change in their frequency rates,2 53 which had significant increases in their third-quarter rates, and 36 which had significant decreases in their rates. In the general all-manufacturing average, however, the lesser number of frequency-rate reductions balanced the greater number of increases because most of the latter occurred in the smaller industries.

Industrial injury-frequency rates for selected manufacturing industries, third quarter 1946, with cumulative rates for 1946

Third quarter

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No change of less than a full frequency-rate point was considered significant.


Frequency rate

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