HC Deb 09 April 1913 vol 51 cc1178-9

asked if, in view of the fact that in trades regulated under the Factory and Workshops Act there were 656 cases of poisoning last year of which fifty were fatal, he has considered how far the regulations made for all these trades are, by Section 79 of that Act, not only reasonably practical but such as meet the necessities of the case; and whether, and by what section, when regulations declared by His Majesty's inspectors to be necessary are resisted, and he appoints an arbitrator instead of himself amending them, he deems it his duty to accept the arbitrator's advice without appeal in any case to Parliament?


The records of poisoning in the different industries, and, where regulations have been made, the working of the regulations are closely watched by the Department. New codes and amendments of existing codes are prepared from time to time as experience shows the need for further precautions; for instance, recently the rules for the manufacture of pottery have been completely recast; a code for lead smelting has been made, and a Departmental Committee is now engaged in considering the coach building trade. As regards the last part of the question, I must point out that when objections are taken, whether by employers or workmen, to regulations proposed by the Home Office, and, in pursuance of the Factory Act, a competent person is appointed to inquire into and report on the objections, a thorough inquiry is made, the evidence of the representatives of the Department and of all parties interested who desire to be heard is taken, and the Commissioner reports the conclusions at which he arrives on a consideration of the evidence. No express obligation is placed by the Act on the Department to accept the conclusions of the Commissioner, but it is obvious that conclusions arrived at by an independent Commissioner after an exhaustive inquiry of this kind is bound to carry, and I think was intended by Parliament to carry, very great weight.