HC Deb 07 April 1910 vol 16 cc603-4

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has had his attention drawn to an accident at the new pit now being sunk at Thorne Moorends on 23rd March, by which one man lost his life and several others were injured by poisonous fumes arising from blasting operations, and the absence of any apparatus for ventilating the pit; whether he is aware that one of the injured men died suddenly while giving evidence at the inquest; whether any report has been received on the subject; and what action, if any, it is proposed to take to prevent similar accidents in the future?


The Secretary of State has received a report of this accident which occurred on 16th March last, but as some of the men affected have not yet recovered, and it has not been possible to take their statements, the investigation of the circumstances is not yet complete. The facts, however, so far as ascertained, were as follows:—Immediately after a round of shots of gelignite had been fired, ten men descended in the "bowk"; they detected no danger, and the rest of the sinkers descended, and work continued as usual. During the night one of the men in the first party became seriously ill, dying the following day, and all the other men in the same party were also affected. The cause of death suggested at the inquest was carbon monoxide poisoning. The death which occurred at the inquest had nothing apparently to do with the accident; the cause of death was apoplexy, and the man went down with the second party, none of whom appear to have been affected by the gas, and was below ground only for a short time. It is the case that no mechanical means of ventilation had been provided, but a current of air was produced by the steam pipes in the shaft, which the management considered adequate for a shaft twenty-two feet in diameter and forty yards deep, and not in the coal measures. A fan has now been provided, and orders given that fifteen minutes are to elapse after shot-firing before men descend. Further inquiries are being made.


Will the hon. Gentleman try to get information as to the state of the ventilation and the current of air passing through the mine at the time the explosion occurred?


We will make full inquiries into the whole subject.