§ MR. S. WOODS (Lancashire, Ince)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Bill which he introduced recently, to amend and extend the Law relating to Factories and Workshops, will apply to factories where they manufacture clothing, generally called cloth factories; whether it will apply to industries known by the name of wool-sorters, of which there are a considerable number in Yorkshire and other places; and if the application of the said Bill does not apply to these cases, whether he will extend its operation to meet a very strong desire expressed by the people engaged in these industries?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT(Mr. ASQUITH, Fife, E.)
The Bill does extend to the industries to which my hon. Friend refers, subject to the general exception that the Factory and Workshop Acts do not apply—except in the case of certain sanitary provisions—to workshops in which men only are employed. An Amendment, however, will be proposed by the Government in Committee on the Bill to extend to such workshops the power given to the Secretary of State by Section 8 of the 161 Act of 1891 to make special rules for industries certified to be dangerous or injurious. An inquiry has for some time been in process by the Factory Department into certain industries which involve the risk of injury to the persons employed—among them being wool-sorting, where there is a possibility that anthrax may be contracted—and this inquiry is nearly completed. On its completion the question whether special rules are desirable for the occupation of wool-sorting will be considered; and on the Bill, with the Amendment I have indicated, becoming law, it will be possible to make any such rules applicable to the industry so far as it is carried on in workshops where men only are employed—which would otherwise be exempt.
§ *MR. W. P. BYLES (York, W. R., Shipley)
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he had seen the precautionary regulations drawn up eleven years ago by the Town Council of Bradford with respect to wool-sorters, and whether those precautions, which hitherto had been imperfectly enforced, would not be adequate if enforced under this Bill?
§ MR. ASQUITH
had seen the regulations to which his hon. Friend referred, and he believed that where they had been enforced they had been adequate. He would consider whether they could be adopted in the Bill.