HC Deb 11 March 1915 vol 70 cc1556-8

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department a question, of which I have given him private notice: Whether his attention has been called to the case of a young girl working on aeroplanes being killed by dope poisoning on 28th February; whether this is the second death this year at the Crayford Works; whether there have been other cases in other parts of the country; whether it was admitted in the evidence at the inquest on 3rd March that the system of ventilation required by the Home Office to prevent dope poisoning which was supposed to be perfect had failed; whether the Home Office is still thoroughly well satisfied that the provision of effective means of ventilation are sufficient precautions, and what are those means; or whether any further steps have been taken to insure the absolute safety of the health and lives of the young women employed on varnishing with dope?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Cecil Harmsworth)

I am aware of this case, but I am advised that the circumstances attending it do not throw doubt on the efficiency of the means which have been recently taken, on the recommendation of the Home Office, to prevent dope poisoning. Poisoning from the dope is gradual, and in the case in question the mischief must have arisen before the installation of the new system of ventilation, as the ventilation was not at work till the latter half of January, and the girl, who had been employed on this work since October, left on the 3rd February. I am informed that it is not correct that any admission was made at the inquest that the system of ventilation had failed. The arrangements at the Crayford Works, which provide for the removal of the fumes at the point of origin, have been carefully inspected by the expert advisers at the Department, and have been reported by them to be quite satisfactory.


I would like to know whether the medical authorities of the Home Office are satisfied now, as they were a month ago, that this ventilation system is thoroughly efficient, and whether they will take the precaution of again examining the girls as they did in December, when they found forty-three girls affected by the fumes?


Yes, Sir; I believe the medical advisers of the Board are perfectly satisfied with the system, but if my hon. Friend would like another inspection made I will make representations to the proper authorities.


I should.