HC Deb 10 March 1891 vol 351 cc591-2
MR. DAVID THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the increasing practice in Welsh steam coal collieries of winding large quantities of coal through the upcast shaft; and whether, in view of the fact that this practice materially interferes with the ventilation and safety of the mine, he will take steps to insure that proper precautions, such as passing the trams through double doors at the surface, are taken?


My attention has been called to this practice. There has been very slight increase in its application daring the last four years. The Inspector reports that the practice does not materially interfere with the ventilation and safety of the mine in any of the cases where it is in operation in the South Wales district, and that the cages used in the upcast shafts fill the mouth of the shaft. The Inspectors will take care that the adoption of this practice, which is not contrary to the Coal Mines Act, does not interfere with the adequate ventilation of the mine under the first General Rule.


Does the Inspector approve of the practice?


He says that it is not desirable it should be extended?


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will again direct the particular attention of Mine Inspectors to Rule 39 in the General Rules under "The Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887," relating to the employment of inexperienced workmen underground, which Rule it is alleged is being constantly broken?


I stated last year that if the hon. Member would bring to my notice any instance of disregard of the Rule I would do all in my power, by issuing instructions to the Inspectors to secure its proper observance. I have referred the hon. Member's question to the Inspector for the South Wales district, and he states that while the Rule is an exceedingly difficult one for managers to enforce, owing to misrepresentations sometimes made by colliers seeking employment, yet he is constantly making inquiry, and has no reason at all to suppose that it is being constantly broken. As a matter of fact, in his district a very small proportion of coal getters work singly.