HC Deb 23 November 1911 vol 31 cc1438-40

(1) All such books as are by this Act required to be kept at a mine shall be provided by the owner, agent, or manager, and shall be in the prescribed form, and the books, or a correct copy thereof, shall be kept at the office at the mine and any inspector, and any person employed in the mine or anyone having the written authority of any inspector or person so employed, may at all reasonable times inspect and take copies of and extracts from any such books; but nothing in this Act shall be construed to impose the obligation of keeping any such book or a copy thereof for more than twelve months after the book has ceased to be used for entries therein under this Act.

(2) Every report required by this Act to be recorded in a book kept at the mine for the purpose shall be submitted to the manager and under-manager of the mine, and shall be countersigned by them on the day on which the report is made or the day following.

(3) Any mine in which there is a contravention of or non-compliance with the provisions of this section shall be deemed to be not managed in conformity with this Act.

Amendments made: In Sub-section (2), after the word "manager" ["and under-manager"], insert the words "if any."—[Colonel Hickman.]

After the word "mine" ["manager of the mine"], insert the words "or in the absence of the manager or under-manager to the person performing the duties of manager or under-manager, as the case may be, in pursuance of the foregoing provisions of this Act."—[Mr. Masterman.]


I beg to move, at the end of the Clause to insert the words, Where two or more mines are grouped under the charge of one manager, it shall be a sufficient compliance with this requirement if every such report is submitted to and countersigned by the under-manager of the mine to which it relates, or, in his absence on leave or from sickness or any other temporary cause, by the person representing the under-manager under Sub-section (2) of Section 3 of this Act. This Amendment is to allow where there are several mines grouped in one manager the certificate to be signed by the under-manager in case the manager is not there. I think it is consequential on Clause 3, where we allowed mines to be grouped and where we put the under-manager of a small mine with one single manager over him.


I beg to second the Amendment.


Recent experience has shown the necessity of keeping the Bill as it stands. In the last two or three of the great explosions the result of investigation has shown a very great deficiency in the keeping of reports and the result of that deficiency. Especially in connection with the most disastrous explosion in Lancashire last December this very system to which the hon. and gallant Member alludes was in operation. There was a general manager over three or four mines, and an under-manager over each specific mine, and it was criticised by the chief inspector as being a very bad system. Although the under-manager or the manager of each separate mine knew what was going on, the man who was really responsible, the manager over the group of mines, did not see some very vital reports in connection with changes in the mine which ultimately resulted in the explosion. So long as the manager holds his responsible position there ought to be a statutory obligation that he should see the various reports.


I quite see the point of the Under-Secretary's remarks, but in some cases it may be physically impossible for the manager to be present. It is impossible for him to guarantee, year in and year out, that he will be there every day in the week. Therefore it is necessary to make some kind of provision for occasions which must inevitably arise when the manager cannot be on the spot. He may be sick, or he may be in London to see the Under Sec—


We have provided for that in an Amendment already carried.


I only wanted to provide that in case of the sickness of the manager another man might sign the report for him. If that is provided for, I beg to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.