HC Deb 20 July 1875 vol 225 cc1735-6

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been drawn to the accident which happened at the coal-pit known as Gornel Wood on the 3rd February 1872, at which pit it is alleged that after the part known as Crowns End fell in men were sent to work, and a man named Eli Jones was drowned, and four others escaped with great difficulty; whether, in the report of the mines inspector, any negligence was attributed to the manager in sending the men to work under such circumstances; and, whether the mines inspector, or any officer under the Government, has now power to control such matters, and prevent men being set to work in pits where there is manifest danger to life?


in reply, said, that his attention had not been called to the accident in question until he had seen the Notice of the hon. Gentleman on the Paper. This was an accident which had happened long before he had the honour of taking the office which he now held, and the Question of the hon. Member did not afford sufficient information to enable him to ascertain the circumstances without considerable trouble. In the first place, the hon. Gentleman was wrong in the main part of his Question; he was wrong in stating that four persons were injured besides the man who was killed, for there were only three injured. The hon. Gentleman was also wrong in stating that the man was drowned, for he was killed by a fall of earth; and he was wrong in implying that the man lost his life in consequence of something which had happened before, for it was a slip of earth which caused his death. The accident occurred on the 3rd of February, 1872, and he had a Report from the Inspector, in which he said that from all he could see on his inspection the subsidence of the earth, the primary cause which led to the accident, was beyond human control. As to whether the Mines Inspector or any officer of Government had power to control such matters and prevent men being set to work in pits where there was manifest danger to life, the hon. Member himself had precisely the same sources of information which he had—namely, the Coal Mines Regulation Act; and if he would be good enough to look to the 46th section of the Act and to the General Rule No. 6, Section 5, he would find all the powers that he knew of.