§ MR. DAVID THOMAS
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will direct the particular attention of the Mines Inspectors to Rule 39 in the General Rules under "The Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887,"which provides that no person shall he allowed to work alone as a collier in the face of the workings until he has had two years' experience of such work under the supervision of skilled workmen, and which Rule it is alleged is not generally observed; and what steps have been taken by the Inspectors of Mines to carry out the intention of the Rule, namely, that no inexperienced person is to be allowed to work in a stall except together with, and under the direction of, a skilled workman?
I must somewhat modify the hon. Member's figures. The number of persons employed per life lost was 480 in South Wales, 741 in the Durham, and 757 in the Newcastle District last year. The lives lost from falls of roof were last year 77 in South Wales, against 87 in the previous year. I am informed by the Inspector that these are the accidents against which inspection is of the least avail. The timbering of the working places devolves upon the colliers, who resent interference or advice from the Inspector; and it would he absolutely impossible for Inspectors to supervise the timbering of the shifting working places of a district where upwards of 70,000 men are employed.