§ MR. DAVID THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can state the number of deaths caused in the United Kingdom by defective pit-ropes and chains during the past 10 years; whether he is aware that at present no official test is applied to ropes or chains used in lowering and raising workmen engaged in mining to and from their work; and whether he will consider the practicability of instituting some official test?
§ MR. ASQUITH
The number of deaths caused by defective pit-ropes and chains during the past 10 years is reported to be 20, or an average of two per annum, in metalliferous mines, and 46, or an average of 4.6 per annum, in coal mines. There is at present no official test applied to ropes or chains. My hon. Friend is aware that by the fifth General Rule of Section 49 of the Coal Mines Act, 1887, it is the duty of mine-owners to have the ropes and chains examined every 24 hours by a competent person. I have consulted the Mines Inspectors, and have come to the conclusion that it is undesirable to relieve the mine-owner of his proper responsibility in this respect, and, as at present advised, I do not propose to institute any official test for these ropes.