HC Deb 10 March 1896 vol 38 cc605-6
MR. T. BURT (Morpeth)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he can say what class of detaching safety hooks were in use at West Leigh Colliery, where an unfortunate accident, resulting in the loss of eight lives, recently occurred; whether he is aware that it was stated at the inquest that the hooks had been in use three years, and had never been taken off for the purpose of examination and cleaning during that time; whether general Rule 5 of the Mines Regulation Act, which makes imperative the examination once at least in 24 hours of the state of the head gear, ropes, chains, and other similar appliances of the mine, had been carried out at this colliery; and, whether any reason can be assigned why the hooks did not come into operation to prevent the sad accident which took place?


I am informed that the detaching hook was that known as Bryham's. It was stated in evidence at the inquest that the hook had been in use for three years, but was scraped and wiped three months before the accident took place. It seems, however, that the accident was not due to any fault in the hook, which is designed to prevent accidents from over-winding, and which acted properly, but to the fact that the engine was started wrongly, with the result that the cage was raised instead of lowered, became unloosed through the operation of the detaching hook, and, as the safety catches failed to act, fell to the bottom of the pit. The catches appear to have been examined daily by the banksman to see if they were free, but subsequent examination showed that they had not been fixed so as to be effective. I understand that the owners of the mine intend to adopt a safety hook which does not depend on catches. I have asked the Inspectors of Mines to consider, at their annual meeting next month, what can be done to prevent similar accidents in future.

MR. J. BURNS (Battersea)

asked the right hon. Gentleman, whether he would intimate to his inspectors the possibility of inquiring in this, as in many other cases, whether the engine driver had duties other than looking after the engine at the time of the accident?


said he would make inquiry.