HC Deb 23 November 1911 vol 31 cc1393-6

(1) In every mine required to be under the control of a manager, daily personal supervision shall be exercised by the manager, and by an trader-manager, if any, nominated by the owner or agent of the mine. Provided that no person shall be appointed to be or be the manager of more than one mine, without the approval of the inspector of the division, if the number of persons employed underground under the same owner in all the mines of which he is manager for the time being shall exceed one thousand or if all the shafts or adits for the time being in use in working such mines are not within a radius of two miles, and where the same person is appointed to be manager of more than one mine a separate under-manager shall be appointed for each such mine.

(2) In cases where, on account of the absence of the manager or under-manager on leave or from sickness or any other temporary cause, such daily personal supervision as is required by this Section cannot be exercised, arrangements shall be made for such supervision being exercised—

  1. (a) in the absence of the manager by the under-manager, if any, or by a person not under the age of twenty-five years and holding a first or second-class certificate under this Act, nominated in writing by the owner or agent;
  2. (b) in the absence of the under-manager, in the case of a mine for which a separate under-manager is required by this Section to be appointed, by a person not under the age of twenty-five years and holding a first or second-class certificate under this Act nominated as aforesaid:

And any person performing the duties of a manager or under-manager whether under this or under the last preceding Section, shall have the same responsibility, and shall be subject to the same liability as the person for whom he is acting.

(3) If in any mine there is a contravention of or non-compliance with the provisions of this Section, the mine shall be deemed to be not managed in conformity with this Act.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "In" ["In every mine"], and to insert instead thereof the word "At."

The term "mine" includes both underground and surface workings; the tramways, sidings, etc. The whole area of the mine, above and below, is to be under the daily personal supervision of the manager. But the word "In" might imply that the manager was to be daily underground. That is absolutely impossible if the manager has to exercise proper supervision over the surface works, and we all know that surface works are being enlarged every day. A proper supervision of such works as winding engines, electrical installations for instance, and many other matters which are necessary for the safety of both those underground as well as on the surface, must have his care. TO these I would also like to add that there are many matters that are going to be added by this particular Act of Parliament. We are glad to see them added, but they all necessitate the manager having to superintend and inspect them. It will be absolutely impossible for him to do that if he is to be down the mine. The word "at" more suitably describes the area of the manager's duties than the word "in."


I beg to second the Amendment.


I hope the hon. Gentleman will not press this Amendment, as it is unnecessary. If it were accepted it would lead to much misunderstanding and much alteration of the law. There is not the slightest doubt that "in the mine" refers to surface work of the mine as well. It has been the law for thirty years. It is the most comprehensive term to employ, and it means that the manager would have the whole of the mine under his supervision.


We have had many instances lately showing that words used in Acts are not understood by all the parties. Here is an opportunity given by this Amendment of making the intention quite clear. "In the mine," I venture to think, suggests that the manager should be deemed to be below ground. The hon. Gentleman must know perfectly well that it is impossible for a man to carry out all his duties if he is always below ground. I do really hope the hon. Gentleman will reconsider his attitude towards this Amendment.

Viscount WOLMER

The hon. Gentleman opposite says that this would lead to a good deal of misunderstanding if the Amendment were accepted. If he objects to the substitution of the word "at" for "in," would he object to the words "in or at"? That would place the matter beyond doubt. If we are passing a measure which is to be a final and a complete measure, we should have words that are perfectly unambiguous.


I hope the Under-Secretary will resist this Amendment. If "at" is substituted for "in" it would do away altogether for any need for the manager to make any supervision of the mine at all. Surely we do not want that. The term used must include the work at the surface and in the mine, and all the ramifications such as haulage, railways, etc. If the word "at" is inserted instead of "in" you will have the manager remaining entirely on the surface and losing all control over the work below ground. Therefore, the reason why the word "in" ought to be maintained.


Would not the converse of that proposition put by the hon. Member also be true?—that is, if he is "in" the mine, might not the supervision of the surface be neglected. What we want to be clear about is that the manager should not be forced to be in the mine all the time. I am certain if the Under-Secretary would accept the words "in or at" it "would meet the case.


Is not the fact that this word has stood for thirty years the strongest argument in its favour? I hope that upon the Report stage of this Bill we shall not lose time upon non-essential points. The Under-Secretary cannot do better than maintain the word "in," which is supported by such long experience.


May I ask if the word "in" does not force the manager to go down every mine every day? [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] If it does not, then I think we need not press this Amendment.


After the explanations given, I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "that" ["provided that no person shall be appointed"], to insert the words "after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and thirteen."

We were asked on the Committee stage to allow certain time in which managers might present themselves for examination. I therefore propose to allow them a year. That would give them four opportunities of sitting for examination.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "under the same owner."

The object of this Amendment is to meet a point overlooked in Committee. The Committee, by unanimous assent, agreed that there should be a limitation of the number of mines controlled by one manager, but they left in the words "under the same owner."

Amendment agreed to.