HC Deb 18 March 1895 vol 31 cc1248-9

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether it is obligatory on railway companies to subject experienced guards, drivers and signalmen to eyesight tests for colour blindness; (2) whether it has come to his knowledge that a railway company in Scotland has adopted a theoretical test which men have failed to pass who have never mistaken the semaphore arms and flags by day or lamps by night, as practically used in railway working; and that notices of dismissal have been given to a number of old servants of the company, thus causing great uneasiness and alarm amongst the railway employés; and (3) whether this is consequent upon any action of the Government or any order issued by the Board of Trade?


Railway companies are not legally compellable to subject their servants to eyesight tests for colour blindness. The facts referred to in the second paragraph of my hon. Friend's question have not come to my knowledge. Having no powers, the Board of Trade have made no order, The subject is, however, one of great interest and importance to the companies and the travelling public, whose interests obviously require that adequate tests for colour vision should be applied. In 1892 the Board of Trade communicated to the railway companies the Report of a Committee of the Royal Society on Colour Vision, and corresponded with the companies in order to ascertain what action they had taken or proposed to take to test the colour vision of their servants.