HC Deb 19 March 1907 vol 171 cc658-9
MR. BRAMSDON (Portsmouth)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if his attention has been called to a prosecution and conviction at the Birmingham Police Court on the 1st instant, whereby a number of men were found working on polishing machines in silver-plating works under conditions injurious to their health, in consequence of their employer failing to provide a fan or other efficient mechanical means for removing the dust arising from the polishing wheels when running; whether he is aware that a similar condition of things exists in the electrical department of His Majesty's Dockyard at Portsmouth; that no apparatus is supplied to the men to prevent the inhalation of dust and fluff arising from the brushes during the process of polishing, that there is insufficient mechanical apparatus to carry away the dust and fluff, and the health of several of the men has been injured in consequence, that three men have been placed on the sick list, without pay, and one on the hurt list, with pay; and whether he will institute an inquiry into the nature of this employment, with a view to improve the conditions under which this work is done.


I beg to answer this Question on behalf of my hon. friend. I have received reports of the prosecution at Birmingham and of the conditions of the electric shop at Portsmouth. These reports reveal a very different state of affairs in the two places. The Birmingham case was an exceptionally bad one. At Portsmouth the records show one case on the hurt list of injury to health from the effects of inhaling dust, but I find that there has been no case on the sick list, nor has any intimation been received from men sick that they have suffered from any such cause. I am informed that an exhaust fan is fitted in the shop and is always kept in action during polishing operations, but means will be taken to secure better arrangements for exhaust ventilation. The men employed in the polishing work have been provided with respirators. The shop itself is reported by the inspector to be a lofty and airy room.