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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Vickie Jacobs, December 11, 1993. Interview K-0100. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Occupational hazards at a furniture factory

Jacobs describes some of the dangers at the furniture factory in which she worked. She describes acrid fumes from lacquer, floors slick with oil, and machines that might snag clothing.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Vickie Jacobs, December 11, 1993. Interview K-0100. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Can you describe for me the working conditions at White's in Hillsborough and then compare that to the working conditions at Hickory White in Mebane in terms of like the environment, the noise?
VICKIE JACOBS:
The worst part where we was working was I was right there with the lady where she sprayed lacquer. This was probably the worst part because you could smell it. Plus to the fixers that fix on the furniture they was right there. They was right there and I was there just like we are talking now. They would spray lacquer and no air vents behind. That was about the worst part of it all is smelling that junk.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
Did they give you some kind of mask?
VICKIE JACOBS:
You could get a mask if you wanted.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
Did most people chose to wear those?
VICKIE JACOBS:
No, but during the times when I got pregnant I had to wear one ( ). I had to be transferred out of there.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
But you remained there through your entire pregnancy or did you leave, take maternity leave?
VICKIE JACOBS:
I had to take maternity leave.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
But, they were willing to move you to another department?
VICKIE JACOBS:
Oh, yeah, they did move me, but I was having complications so I had to leave.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
What did you have?
VICKIE JACOBS:
A girl.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
How old is she?
VICKIE JACOBS:
She's five now.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
Was the work kind of dangerous? Was there any particular department that seemed to be more dangerous to work in than others?
VICKIE JACOBS:
Yeah. In our area it wasn't too bad. They had to work with some type of oil. When you're using oil with a machine they splattered it all on the floor. As a matter of fact, I had slipped and fell myself. I happen to know where another girl slipped and fell. In my area, the rub and pack, that's the most dangerous spot in the mill I'm telling you. Finishing, you just have to look and watch where you step. Sanding room, just have to watch the machines you have to run, but the most dangerous part to me in the furniture factory is really dangerous is the machine room with the saws. If you're not paying attention a girl can get her clothes snagged in this machine and just pull her and lacquer her.
JOYCE BLACKWELL-JOHHSON:
When they are injured on the job I would assume they would receive from the company some kind of compensation?
VICKIE JACOBS:
Yes, if they out for a while, let's say a week or two, they will get compensation.