HC Deb 16 July 1925 vol 186 cc1513-4

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the increase of industrial accidents for 1924, given in the Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories, in which it is stated that there is an increase of 44,172 industrial accidents over the previous year; and whether he is satisfied that the inspectors of factories are numerically adequate to see that the Home Office Regulations are properly carried out?


I am aware of the increase, but it was attributable, I have no doubt, to the causes assigned by the Chief Inspector in pages 11 to 13 of the Report, namely, increased activity in the industries chiefly responsible for accidents and the changes in the standard of notification introduced by the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1923. As to the adequacy, generally, of the factory staff, I am not altogether satisfied, but I agree with the view of my predecessor in office, that it would not be advisable to deal with this question pending the passage of the Factories Bill.


Has the increased activity in these industries and the excessive hours that are being worked to execute orders anything to do with the number of accidents?


I do not quite know. I cannot really carry in my mind the full Report of the Factory Inspector. I cannot recall that there is any evidence as to the increased hours meaning an increased number of accidents in the industries, but simply, as it were, the increased work has meant an increased proportion of accidents.


Did not the right hon. Gentleman's two predecessors admit that the factory inspectorate was very inadequate. Is it not time that some legislation to deal with the obvious injustice to the industrial workers of the country should be attempted?


If my predecessors said it was inadequate, they did not remedy it. I have indicated that I am not altogether satisfied. When the Factories Bill is introduced and more work is cast upon the inspectors, there will be good ground for more inspectors.

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