HC Deb 15 February 1926 vol 191 cc1541-2

asked the Home Secretary whether he can see his way to introduce amending legislation with regard to compensation for silicosis under the Refractories Industries (Silicosis) Scheme and, in particular, those clauses which deal with workers who have been employed for 20 years in industries where this disease is liable to be contracted and who, after 20 years' employment or more, have left the industry?


A workman who has left the industries can apply for compensation at any time if totally disabled by silicosis. In the case of partial incapacity the claim must be made within one month after he has left the employment. In view of the great difficulties in dealing with claims which are put forward long after the employment has ceased, these provisions seem to me very favourable to the workmen, and the Departmental Committee, which recently inquired into the working of the scheme, made no recommendation for any alteration. I am not prepared, therefore, as at present advised, to propose any amendment.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that in several cases of the kind, men who have been in employment for more than 20 years in this industry have contracted this disease, and that the local doctors have certified that it was due to their work in that industry?


I have received two deputations recently from the trade in regard to this very complicated illness, and my Department and myself are watching it very carefully with a view to taking whatever steps are necessary to improve the position.

77. Mr. SMITH

also asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that, during 1924, 673 examinations of silicosis were made in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and that in one area alone, that of Wadsley Bridge, 547 workers suffering from this disease, taken from local brick works, quarries, and mines were examined; and whether he is satisfied with the conditions under which these workers have been occupied?


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. Under the scheme all the workers have to be examined periodically, and the figures he gives are the numbers so examined. I am informed that out of the 547 persons examined in the Wadsley Bridge area, only 15 were certified to be suffering from silicosis. Special Regulations for the prevention of the disease have been put in force in these works, and I am advised that the conditions have greatly improved. This point will continue to receive the special attention of the Department.

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