HC Deb 19 December 1893 vol 19 cc1761-2

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War what compensation will be paid to the wives and relatives of the men injured in the late fatal explosion at Waltham Abbey; and whether he will consider the advisability, in view of any future explosion, of providing a room fitted as a hospital, with a resident nurse, within easy reach of the factory, instead of having to obtain trained nurses from London?


Compensation to the wives and relatives of the men killed in the late unhappy explosion at Waltham Abbey, and also allowances to the men injured, will be paid under the Treasury Warrant under Clause I. of the Superannuation Amendment Act of 1887. The Warrant constitutes Sessional Paper 349 of that year. The suggestions in the second paragraph of the hon. and gallant Member's question have been anticipated; and plans for a small hospital for the treatment of men suffering from accidents at the Enfield and Waltham factories have been prepared and are now under consideration.


Has the hon. Gentleman any information as to the condition of the wounded? Is there in existence at Waltham an ambulance class, and, if not, will the Government afford facilities for the formation of one?


I am sorry to have to inform the House that to-day we have received information that two more of these unfortunate men have died, making nine fatalities in all. There is an ambulance class at Waltham, men employed in the factory receiving special training in it. I may add, it would be very convenient to have nearer the factory facilities for the treatment of accidents, and we have already selected a site for an hospital, which, no doubt, the War Office will be willing to set apart for the purpose.

MR. HANBURY (Preston)

As prevention is better than cure, I should like to ask, is it not a fact that at this Government factory the Government will not consent to work under the same conditions as to security as are insisted on in the case of private firms?


I cannot imagine there is any warrant whatever for the assertion of my hon. Friend. As a matter of fact, although the processes carried on there are in their nature essentially dangerous, the number of fatalities is remarkably small. The greatest care is taken to prevent any kind of disaster, and possibly, as a result of the inquiry which has been ordered, still greater care will be taken in the future.


But is it not a fact that the Government will not consent to the same conditions as are imposed on private firms, in regard to the amount of powder to be made in one compartment and the number of men to be employed in each compartment?


I do not believe that there is any justification for that suggestion?


I will repeat the question.