HC Deb 27 March 1906 vol 154 cc1048-9
MR. JOWETT (Bradford, W.)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been directed to the Report of an inquest held at Bradford on the 19th instant, to inquire into the deaths of two operative wool-workers who died from general anthrax, where the jury declared that not sufficient care had been taken; and whether he is aware that several deaths from the same cause have taken place within a recent period at Messrs. Campbell & Harrisons, one of the firms concerned; whether, having regard to the seriousness of the situation, he will furnish the House with a list of the cases of anthrax which have been contracted at the firm referred to; and can he state the source from which the wool is derived upon which these operatives have been employed and the price paid by the importers for the same.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) Yes, I have had before me Reports on the two cases mentioned in the Question. In regard to one of these the jury expressed the opinion that sufficient care had not been taken to extract the dust from the wool, but in the other case they considered that every possible precaution seemed to have been taken for the protection of the workpeople. It is the fact that during the last two years a number of cases of anthrax have occurred at this firm's works, sixteen in all, of which eight proved fatal; and I shall be happy to furnish the hon. Member with a list of them if he desires to have it. In the majority of the cases the wool used was of Persian origin, but, as the firm do not purchase wool but comb it on commission for other firms, it has not been possible to ascertain the price paid. I may add that, in compliance with the new regulations, a number of structural improvements have been carried out by the firm, as well as several suggestions on points outside the regulations which have been made by the inspector, and a doctor has been engaged at the company's expense to visit and treat any person in their employ who reports illness from any cause. Special attention will continue to be given to these works, especially in connection with the process of sorting.