I have no doubt that work in the factory resulted in quite a number of cases of injury, ill health and death - some in the short term and many more in the longer term as a result of chronic illnesses (for example, cancer). My mother died from mesothelioma - a cancer known only to be associated with blue asbestos. Since her only contact with this material was during her work as a 'monkey dunger' (pipe lagger) at the factory (30 years before her death) then the cause is seemingly evident.
However, it was not really until the 1970's that health and safety at work became a cause celebre. In my opinion not a day too soon either! There are, of course, still injuries, ill health and deaths at work, caused mainly by management failures but improvements have, and still are, being made. It is sometimes an uphill struggle, as I know - I spent nearly 30 years 'fighting the cause' of health and safety at work.
Having said that, is it not a fact that in the hey days of the 'factory' there was a greater community spirit and even a better standard of living within the threetowns.
I'm willing to be shot down over my last remark there but that's as I seem to remember it (albeit as a young lad).