HC Deb 20 February 1908 vol 184 cc1024-5
MR. J. DEVLIN (Belfast, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a case heard at the Portadown petty sessions, on Monday 10th February, 1908, in which Mr. Williams, inspector of factories, prosecuted a local firm for failing to have the boiler used in their works examined and to register the report of the examination; whether, although this was the third prosecution against the firm for a similar offence and the inspector pressed for the full penalty, the magistrates only inflicted a fine of £3; whether he has any official reports bearing out the statement of the inspector that there is no part of the country where this provision of the Factory and Workshop Act is so much neglected as in Ulster, and that the neglect is due to the triviality of the fines inflicted by the magistrates; and whether, in view of all the facts of the case, and of the danger to the lives of employees involved in the neglect of the provisions of the Act by the employers he will issue instructions to the inspectors in Ulster to devote special attention to ensuring that the provisions of the Act in regard to the inspection of boilers are duly enforced.


I have obtained a report on this case from the inspector of the district and find that the facts are as stated in the first two paragraphs of the Question. The time at my disposal has been too short to enable me to make any detailed inquiry as to the extent to which neglect of the provision relating to the examination of steam boilers prevails in Ulster, as compared with other industrial districts of the country, or as to the causes of that neglect; but the inspector reports that such neglect is not uncommon; that he is giving very careful attention to the enforcement of the requirements of the Act, and that he had already taken a number of proceedings in court.