HC Deb 08 August 1890 vol 348 cc255-6
MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to Conclusion No. 6, of Mr. Thomas' Reporton the Mossfield Colliery explosion, namely, "that Special Rule 15 of the Mossfield Colliery requires amendment to make it comply in terms with General Rule 4 of 'The Mines Acts, 1887;'" and whether any steps have been taken to make the Amendment referred to?


The constant maintenance of proper ventilation is one of the most important duties which the law casts upon managers of mines. To multiply inspectors with a view to rely on their supervision would be an attempt to convert inpsectors into managers, and would in the long run, be injurious to the safety of the mines and of those employed in them. Inspectors can properly undertake to see that the special rules are appropriately framed and duly observed, and to offer advice and suggestions; and the present staff is not insufficient for that purpose.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the following statements in Mr. Atkinson's Report on the Explosion at Mossfield Colliery in October, 1889— The supervision exercised in the colliery was defective." Again, "The system of ventilating the Cockshead Seam was not a good one. It would have been better if the air had been more divided and not taken continuously from one district to another. …. Some parts of the airways were in a bad state of repair, and had been so for several weeks before the explosion"; and whether, having regard to the great Importance of "supervision" and "ventilation" in mines, he will recommend the appointment of additional inspectors?


Yes, Sir; this matter has been receiving my careful attention, and an amended special rule complying in terms with the general rule of the Act has been settled, and will be promulgated immediately.


In consequence of the unsatisfactory answer of the right hon. Gentleman, I beg to give notice that when the Home Office Vote comes on I will raise the question again.