HC Deb 21 October 1909 vol 12 cc453-4

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention had been directed to a disease affecting certain workers in the printing trade known as carbon-monoxide poisoning, arising from the fumes of a gas mow being largely used in heating the metal pots attached to linotype composing machines; and whether he would cause an inquiry to be made with a view to the disease being scheduled as an industrial disease under the Workmen's Compensation Act?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Gladstone)

I have made inquiry into the case of which the hon. Member has been good enough to send me particulars, and the reports would appear to show that it was a case of gradual poisoning by carbon-monoxide. Such cases are extremely rare, and no other case of the kind in connection with linotype work is known to the Department. Poisoning by carbon-monoxide is, of course, not uncommon, but it is almost invariably more or less sudden, and of the nature of an accident, so as to come clearly under the main provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act. The question of scheduling carbon-monoxide poisoning as a disease was considered by the Industrial Diseases Committee, but they were unable to regard the evidence as sufficient to justify their recommending its inclusion. In view, however, of the present case, I will give instructions for the matter to be carefully watched by the officers of the Department.


Is it not a fact that gas companies of late years have introduced carbon-monoxide into their gas in much larger proportions than used to be done?


That may be the case. Does my hon. Friend mean that that would account for the poisoning?


It might result from a slight leakage.