HC Deb 15 March 1923 vol 161 cc1785-6
91. Mr. LUNN

asked the Secretary for Mines whether his attention has bean called to the recent prosecution of the management of Garforth Colliery, near Leeds, for the following, amongst other offeeees, against the Coal Mines Regulation Acts: lack of inspection of workings prior to men going to work, no reports of inspection whilst men were at work, inadequate ventilation, refuge holes obstructed or not provided, roof too low for the passage of ponies, machinery unfenced, inadequate supply of food and water for horses, ill-fitting harness and eye-guards, and for having no means for extinguishing fire; and whether he is satisfied that adequate steps have been taken since the prosecution was initiated, and now exist at the colliery, to protect the lives and limbs of both men and ponies employed there?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Lieut.-Colonel Lane-Fox)

Yes, Sir. The prosecution was taken by my orders. The mine is now under new management, and the divisional inspector is satisfied that all possible measures are being taken to remedy the defects. Inspection is continuing, and, if further action is necessary, it will be taken.

92. Mr. LUNN

asked the Secretary for Mines if he is aware that, in the prosecution of the Garforth Colliery Company, the magistrates have fined the agent and manager and dismissed the owners of the colliery from the case, declaring that their responsibility ended after they had found the money necessary for working the colliery; if he had considered the danger to the lives and limbs of employés which may arise from such irresponsibility; and whether he will introduce legislation, making the colliery owners directly responsible in such matters?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

I am aware that the charges against the owners were dismissed, the Bench finding that they were not liable by reason of Section 102 of the Coal Mines Act, 1911. That Act makes it clear that the safety of the persons employed is a direct responsibility of the manager of every mine, and that, where an owner takes any part in the management, he shares with the manager responsibility for observance, of the safety provisions of the Act. This follows the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Mines, and I do not think that further legislation required.