Accident figures Sir: I have read with interest the article Preventing Industrial Accidents in DESIGN (202/58-63).
Unfortunately, the introduction does not give the correct figures for the relationship between factory and road casualties during 1963. Whereas the figure of 204,269 killed and injured in factories is correct as reported to HM Factory Inspectorate, the figures for road injuries are four times the figure of 94,698 given.
This latter total is made up as follows: 6,922 killed, including 809 children; 87,776 seriously injured, including 12,426 children; and 261,481 slightly injured, including 42,265 children. This gives total casualties of 356,179, including 55,500 children.
The total of 204,269 casualties in factories is made up of 610 killed and 203,659 injured: thusthereare about 11 times as many people killed on the roads as in factories in this country.
If these road figures are agreed by the author, L. Bruce Archer, the argument propounded on page 63 will, of course, not be made so forcefully, even though those of us engaged in industrial accident prevention are ever dismayed at the increasing annual toll of industrial injuries. P. E. Arscott, central safety engineer, The Distillers Co Ltd. London.
L. Bruce Archer writes: "I must apologise if the figures I gave were misleading, for one can present these kinds of statistics in all sorts of ways. The point is, a great many people get killed or injured in industrial accidents and very little news of this gets into newspaper headlines.
"The figures for 1964, which have been published since my article appeared, show that industrial accidents in that year rose by 31 per cent to the highest annual figure since the war - that is, to 268,648 killed and injured. Many of these accidents could have been prevented by better human factors design in machinery".
Is a dune enough ? Sir: No objective person can disagree with Dorothy Meade's argument in Sleeping Easy (DESIGN 201/57-63) that our traditional sleeping equipment wastes space, time and energy. A single covering such as the continental down quilt seems at first sight to be a logical improvement. Yet before we discard our multiple coverings, it would be prudent to discover whether British bedrooms are comparable with those of the countries in which the quilt evolved.
Can anyone explain to me how a covering which is bearable on summer nights can be adequate in the depths of winter, or how a device which is essentially one glorified eiderdown can be a substitute for the eiderdown and three blankets which I find barely sufficient at present ?
I suspect that the answer is that, in countries where the outside temperature is consistently 30ø below freezing, people do not insist on always sleeping with their windows open. I would also guess that the Scottish hospital where the dune was received so rapturously was heated to at least 60ø at night. It is relevant to enquire whether the cost of emancipated bed making is a hermetically sealed and permanently heated bedroom. J. C. M. Taylor, Tadworth, Surrey
Dorothy Meade writes: "We have changed from four blankets and an eiderdown to one continental quilt only: no heating in the bedroom. We find it gloriously warm on a cold winter's night, slightly too warm in summer unless we stick our feet out for air.
"Why is this so ? The extreme lightness of the dune doesn't make it oppressive in summer. And its construction - it is not quilted right through like a conventional eiderdown, but has inner 'walls' of fabric so that all the down can expand fully to give good insulation and trap the heat generated from the user- is the secret of its warmth".
A question of height Sir: I would regard the cooker described in the article Investigating the Consumer (DESIGN 203/52-57) as entirely unacceptable because it is not designed with the top at counter level. (It is possible that if the plinth is removed, the correct height will be obtained; but this has not been stated).
I would really have thought that the first design requirement to meet today's needs would be to make all working surfaces in a kitchen the same height, and designed in relation to each other.
If this fundamental point has been overlooked, all the rest of the detailing and research seems to me to have been largely a waste of time. W. Boissevain, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
J. A. Saltmarsh writes: "During development, the Hotpoint cooker height was governed by BS 1195, Kitchen Fitments and
Equipment, which recommended a height of 36 inches.
The 1964 introduction of BS 3705, Recommendations for Provision of Space for Domestic Kitchen Equipment, recommending a height of 34 inches, glosses over the fact that installed kitchen equipment conforms to the earlier standard - if to any.
"A detachable plinth would have repercussions on the oven design, and did not seem a satisfactory accommodation when all things were taken into consideration. What is really needed to solve the problem is work on the development of an infinitely variable hole-in-the-ground. The cook could stand in this and it could be sold as an optional extra".
What's in a name ? Sir: Humpty Dumpty made words mean whatever he wished, and this is reasonable as long as others will agree. DESIGN has been outstanding in persuading designers of the importance of attending to ergonomic problems. The definition of the specialist capable of dealing with those problems is therefore important.
In Planning the Procedures (DESIGN 202/42) the word "ergonomist" is defined as "a physiologically oriented engineer".
My reaction is best indicated by analogy. While it is no easier to define an industrial designer precisely than to define an ergonomist, I suspect that industrial designers and you, Sir, would consider inappropriate some such description of the industrial designer as "a graphically oriented engineer". B. Shackel, ergonomics laboratory, E.M.I. Electronics Ltd
Backwards or forwards ? Sir: Your comment about the thermometer and barometer described in DESIGN 204/62 says that they have been brought "firmly into the twentieth century", but this is exactly what they have not been.
They represent design at its worst - they are attractive products, but they, in fact, miss the bus.
Barometric pressure is measured in millibars, and temperature in degrees centigrade. Possibly we need inch divisions and fahrenheit divisions as a guide as well, but to add the gobbledegook about "winds fair for the next 24 hours" takes barometers back into the Victorian era, though it might sell them to maiden aunts. B. Hayman, editor, Yachting World