HC Deb 26 March 1923 vol 162 cc13-4
20. Mr. PALING

asked the Secretary for Mines whether adequate facilities exist. to test the numerous mechanical inventions constantly being brought to his notice, and whose inventors claim that the adoption of such appliances would tend to materially reduce the number of accidents in mines, and particularly those relating to the prevention of pit-cage accidents due to broken winding-ropes?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

The only satisfactory way of testing such inventions, if on examination they appear to meet a real need in a practical way, is to put them into regular use at mines, and this is constantly being done by owners and managers. As regards cage-arresting devices, however, the Technical Appliances Committee, who have considered all the numerous devices which have been brought to my notice, advise me that nearly all of them display such an ignorance of the dynamics of the problem as to be quite useless. The Committee record that they see no reason to depart from the finding of the Royal Commission on Mines in 1909, which was to the effect that it is much better to rely on good material and careful periodical examination than to employ safeguards which can only be considered of doubtful value.


Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there are numbers of these inventors who claim to have these mechanical inventions, and that they are complaining continually that when they apply to the Secretary for Mines they have simply the notification acknowledging receipt of their letters, but that they get no chance of testing their inventions? I am continually being approached by people with complaints of this description.


Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider the advisability of providing facilities whereby demonstrations can be given to his technical advisers of life-saving appliances, and will he in future guarantee that the House shall from time to time have the benefit of these demonstrations?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

I cannot guarantee that the House will have practical demonstrations, because that would be impossible; but I can say that all these inventions arc very carefully gone into by the best scientific people whom we can get to go into them. It is a very dangerous thing for a Department to sanction the use of any particular invention without being sure that it is absolutely reliable.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that every passenger lift working in London or any other city has an appliance fixed underneath the cage; and could not similar appliances be affixed to pit cages?


We cannot debate the matter now.