HC Deb 24 November 1911 vol 31 cc1625-7

(1) The Secretary of State may by order make such general regulations for the conduct and guidance of the persons acting in the management of mines or employed in or about mines as may appear best calculated to prevent dangerous accidents and to provide for the safety, health, convenience, and proper discipline of the persons employed in or about mines, and for the care and treatment of horses and other animals used therein, and any such regulations may vary or amend any of the provisoins contained in Part II. of this Act.

(2) The regulations made under any such order may apply either to all mines or to any specified class or description of mines, and may provide for the exemption of any specified class or description of mines, either absolutely or subject to conditions.

(3) The provisions contained in Part I. of the Second Schedule to this Act shall have effect with respect to the procedure for making orders under this Section.

(4) An order made under this Section shall be laid as soon as possible before both Houses of Parliament, and shall have effect as if enacted in this Act.

(5) An order made under this Section may be revoked, altered, or added to by an order made in like manner and subject to the same provisions as the original order.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after "mines" ["mines, and may provide"], to insert the words "in any inspector's division, or any district thereof."

Without the Amendment, the Clause makes the regulations apply to the whole coalfield, though the conditions vary, anthracite, steam, and other coal being found in different districts of a county. There should be different regulations to suit the varied conditions.


I bog to second the Amendment.


I do not belong to the association of mine-owners in South Wales, the companies with which I am associated being private ones. One of the chief troubles we have had is on account of these large companies joining together. The companies with which I am associated are not members of the federation of employers, and the representatives of those companies do not want to be running to them cap in hand. I do not belong to the federation of employers, and I do not want to ask their assistance.


I recognise the strength of the point of my hon. Friend. This Amendment was moved in Committee, but withdrawn. One of the main objects of the new procedure proposed in this Clause is to secure so far as possible uniformity in the regulations throughout the country, in place of the present system of special rules differing between district and district, and even between mines in the same district. The Royal Commission, in their Report, say, One of the most noticeable features of the existing codes is that while they are generally similar in character and deal with the same questions, subject to local differences of custom, yet there is a bewildering divergence, not only in the requirements of the rules, but in the language in which they are couched. There is no doubt a marked difference of practice in certain departments of mining in the different coalfields, and it may be urged with some force that it would not be practicable to reduce the present rules to one general code identical in requirements and in language. Since, however, the system of Special Rules was established the barriers of local custom and practice have to a large extent been removed, and, subject to local differences of terms, there is room for much greater uniformity in the rules. It is apparent that a considerable part of mining practice is common to all the coalfields, and this has already been recognised in the case of the Special Rules for the installation and use of electricity. There are many other matters which are equally capable of a uniform treatment, such as the provisions in regard to shot-firing, the use of safety lamps, etc., and we think that the time has come for emphasising the similarities rather than the differences of practice in the various coalfields. I think, in view of that very striking report, the House will be well advised to take the same course as in Committee.


The Under-Secretary promised to consider the point, and deal with it on Report.


There is no necessity to have any doubt about the hon. Baronet the Member for Mansfield. There is nobody in this House better able to look after himself that the hon. Baronet, and the doubt about combinations of employers is quite beyond the mark.

Amendment negatived.