§ 40. Mr. WEDGWOOD
asked the Home Secretary whether the temperature in cotton-weaving sheds in Lancashire is limited by law to 75 degrees Fahrenheit when measured by the wet-bulb thermometer; whether in the coal mines of France there is a limitation in temperature when measured both by the wet and dry-bulb thermometers at which miners shall work; whether the temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, measured by the wet-bulb thermometer, is regarded as too high for continuous work in the mine; whether similar legislation exists in most foreign countries where mining is carred on; and whether he contemplates legislation which shall limit the temperature similarly in British mines?
§ Mr. McKENNA
No absolute limit of temperature is fixed for cotton-weaving sheds; my hon. Friend is perhaps thinking of the Regulation which prohibits artificial humidification of the air when the wet-bulb reading exceeds 75 degrees. It is the case that the French Mining Regulations prohibit work, except in cases of absolute necessity, when the temperature reaches certain limits, but those limits are 95 degrees on the dry or 86 degrees on the wet bulb. There are similar regulations, I understand, in Austria and Belgium. As to fixing a limit for coal mines in this country, I can only say, as I said in reply to a question on 19th March, that the Royal Commission on Coal Mines considered this subject, and came to the conclusion that no limit should be fixed. The limits fixed by the French law are reached in very few mines in this country.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the seventy-seven degrees under the French law requires the deputies to inform the management of the temperature. It does not stop the working of the mine, but notification is involved, and is that not desirable for keeping down temperature in this country?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Under the new Orders I have issued under the Coal Mines Regulations Act, the thermometers must be placed underground near the shaft.