HC Deb 17 May 1928 vol 217 cc1184-5
8. Mr. KELLY

asked the Home Secretary when the Bulmer-Rayon Company, Stowmarket, was given permission to work the two-shift system; when was this factory last inspected; if his attention has been called to the many cases of injury to hands and eyes; and will he consider placing the artificial silk trade in the schedule of diseases in the Workmen's Compensation Act?


The two-shift Order was issued on the 28th January, 1926. The factory was visited on Tuesday last and had been previously inspected on numerous occasions during the last two years. There do not appear to be sufficient grounds for scheduling the conjunctivitis of the eyes under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Even the severer cases of it do not, I am informed, as a rule disable the workman for more than one or two days and where, in ex- ceptional cases, it has caused more prolonged disablement, it has been due to actual splashes of the acid into the eye, which would constitute an accident within the meaning of the Act. The sores on the band which are sometimes caused by the acid, would appear to be covered by the diseases already scheduled under the Act as dermatitis or ulceration of the skin produced by dust or liquids, hut these sores, if treated promptly, should not incapacitate the workman.


In view of the reply, and also in view of the many cases which have arisen in various parts of the country which have entailed absence from work on many occasions, will the right hon. Gentleman consider having an investigation into the whole position in order that these diseases may be scheduled under the Workmen's Compensation Act?

Viscountess ASTOR

Will the Factory Bill which the right hon. Gentleman is going to introduce in the autumn deal with this matter?


No. This is a question of the Workmen's Compensation Act and not factory legislation. The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) knows that I have gone very fully into this matter, but I should be very glad to discuss it with him, and to consider any proposals which he may make.


In view of the growing number of these factories, and the reports about these diseases and their effect upon the workers, is it not possible to have an investigation at an early date in order to adopt preventive measures?


I have asked my medical inspectors to keep their very closest attention on these diseases. New diseases cannot be scheduled immediately; I must be satisfied after my inspectors have gone very fully into the matter.

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