HC Deb 17 April 1923 vol 162 cc1876-7
72. Mr. LUNN

asked the Secretary for Mines whether the Departmental Committee which he has appointed to consider the effect of shot-firing in coal mines will study the subject below ground, of drilling and firing in both stone and coal, and particularly the effect of shot-firing in an atmosphere charged with coal dust; and whether the inquiry will he at one colliery or at collieries in various districts, or whether the investigations will be confined to the Department's testing station at Eskmeals?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

The object of the work that the Explosives Research Committee is carrying out is to prevent the initiation, by shot-firing, of explosions of firedamp and coal dust. The work is being done at the Mines Department Experimental Station and at laboratories there and elsewhere. It would be dangerous to experiment below ground in collieries. The physiological effect on mine workers of stone dusts of various kinds have been and are still under research by Dr. Haldane for the Medical Research Council, and my Health Advisory Committee is also considering the effects of drilling in ironstone mines.


Is it the intention of the Committee which the hon. and gallant Member is going to set up to go down the mines to see the effect of firing, the possibilities of the future, and the effects upon the men concerned? Will he also appoint a Committee to consider the effect of drilling, not only in iron-stone mines, but also in the stone of coal mines?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

As to setting up another Committee I will consider that point. As regards the work of the Explosives Research Committee, I cannot regulate the action they will take, but I have no doubt that they will go thoroughly into all matters.


Does the Secretary for Mines not realise that there is no relation between any experimental tube of coal dust and the condition obtaining in mines?


Has the Secretary for Mines had his attention called to the very high death-rate among those employed on compressed-air boring machines in coal mines during the last 10 years?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

Yes, Sir. That is the reason why the whole matter is being investigated now.