§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can state the number of fatal accidents, under the heads quarries, factories, and miscellaneous, since the 1st July, 1898, as compared with an equal period prior to the 1st July, 1898; whether it is computed that in railways and mines the fatal accidents bear a larger proportion to the number of hands employed than they did previously; and what reason is given by his advisers for any apparent proportional increase in the case of quarries, factories, and docks.
* SIR M. WHITE-RIDLEY
The numbers of fatal accidents during the eleven months from July, 1898, to May, 1899, were—in factories, 610; in quarries, 129; under the Notice of Accidents Act, 51. The corresponding numbers for the eleven months prior to July, 1898, were 459, 95, and 58. As regards railways and mines, there are no returns showing the number of hands employed during the present year; but taking the figures for the previous four years I find that there has been a satisfactory decrease in the proportion of fatal accidents to persons employed. In the case of factories, docks, and quarries the increase of fatal accidents is, I am advised, to be attributed almost entirely to the improvement of trade. If the hon. Member will refer to the statistics of fatal accidents in factories given in Table 98 of the Abstract of Labour statistics, 1897–8, he will find that the number of accidents in factories regularly rises and falls according to the state of trade. The greater part of the increase during the past year has occurred in the metal industries, in shipbuilding and in docks—industries specially affected by the improvement of trade.