HC Deb 28 February 1912 vol 34 cc1363-4

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his Department was taking, or contemplated taking, to test the various inventions for preventing a cage falling down the shaft when the rope breaks, with a view to having the use of some safety appliance made compulsory for the prevention of accidents from this cause?


The subject of safety catches has been recently investigated by the Expert Committee which was appointed by the Royal Commission on Mines to inquire into the means of preventing shaft accidents, with the result that they were satisfied that, under the conditions obtaining in this country, none of the existing types of safety catch could be regarded as reliable. The Royal Commission, after hearing a large number of witnesses, and in view of the Committee's opinion, unanimously reported that they were unable to recommend that the use of safety catches should be required by law. The subject was debated on the Report Stage of the Coal Mines Bill of last Session on an Amendment moved by the hon. Member to make the use of safety appliances compulsory, but the proposal was not adopted. I am advised that there is nothing more which can usefully be done by the Department at the present time; but I may remind the hon. Member that the Act of last Session contains a number of new provisions intended to guard against the risk of a cage falling down the shaft.


Is there any Departmental Committee to which these inventions could be referred, as several new inventions have recently been made?


I could not answer as to whether there is any definite Committee which would examine any inventions of the sort referred to, but they would, if mentioned at the time, be brought to the notice of the Chief Inspector of Mines, who would certainly give them his attention.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that not a single invention has come out since the Report to which he refers.


Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the appliances in this country are as good as in other countries?


I believe so, quite!


Is it intended to stop the exhibition of safety appliances in this, country?