The Factory Acts were passed by the government to regulate the working conditions provided by industrial employers. Early acts were limited in scope and largely unenforced.
 Factory Act 1833 (Althorp’s Act)
Growing pressure and further parliamentary enquiries revealed the extent of abuse and mistreatment of children in factories. This led to the passing of the 1833 Act. Prior Acts had been limited to just the cotton industry, but the latest Act also applied to woollen producing communities. The Act banned the use of children in factories under the age of nine. For those aged between 9 and 13, a 48 hour working week limit was set with no more than 8 hours per day and for children between 13 and 18 this limit was set at 12 hours per day.
In addition, this was the first Act that established an enforcement system through the use of inspectors. The inspectors had the powers to impose penalties for infringements. Due to the limited number of inspectors and the vast number of factories, the Act was widely evaded but it was the start of a more controlled system.
 Factory Act 1844 (Graham’s factory act)
The Factories Act 1844 was predominantly a health and safety act, and the first of its kind in Britain. It included the following:
- Secure fencing around dangerous machinery.
- No child or young person was to clean mill machinery while it was in use.
- A limit of 6.5 hours work for a child, with 3 hours schooling.
- A maximum of 12 hour working day for 13-18 year olds and women.
 Factories Act 1847 (Ten Hours Act)
The 1847 Act introduced the restriction of working hours of women and 13-18 year olds in textile mills to 10 hours per day.
 Factories Act Extension Act 1867
The introduction of the 1867 extension, enforced the factory legislation to all other factories which employed at least 50 people. It also introduced specific regulations for certain industries such as blast furnaces, iron and steel mills, glass, paper making, tobacco, printing and bookbinding.
 Later Acts
Further Factory Acts were passed in 1878, 1891 and 1895 which placed additional restrictions on the employment of children and women and also extended health and safety regulations. The minimum age was raised to 11 by the 1891 Act.
 Factories Act 1961
The 1961 act consolidated the 1937 and 1959 Acts and the act is still largely in force. However, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is now the predominant piece of legislation that governs workplace health and safety.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Building Regulations.
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).
- Deleterious materials.
- Environmental health.
- Health and Safety Executive.
- Health and safety inspector.
- Health and safety.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Leaps, not steps, are needed to avoid a ticking time bomb, say BRE in response to Farmer Review.
A multi-purpose hall in France covered in a translucent orange membrane.
Winning designs revealed for a rock formation-influenced residential complex in Rennes.
An article explaining the techniques, regulations and environmental impacts of carbon capture and storage.
Watch one of the first documentaries by the acclaimed Adam Curtis, examining the substandard system building of the 1960s.
Take a look at the tech start-up that could transform construction design and communication.
This house in Barcelona uses an innovative new facade tiling system to blend into the landscape.
The origins, evolution and future of Level 3 BIM.
For new and returning Urban Design students, check out our article list divided up into the modules you'll be studying.
Report states that health of urban dwellers could be significantly improved by rethinking transport design.
The Kremlin, the centre of Russian power, includes some of the country's finest architecture.