HC Deb 06 June 1935 vol 302 cc2034-7
39. Mr. C. BROWN

asked the Secretary for Mines whether his attention has been called to the latest annual report of the inspector of mines in the North Midland division, in which he expresses grave concern about the fatal and non fatal accident rate in the Nottingham shire coalfield; and what steps, if any, he proposes to take to as certain why the accident rate in this coalfield is the highest of any coalfield in Great Britain?

42. Mr. COCKS

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that the accident rate from falls in the coalfield is the highest in the United Kingdom and that the inspector of mines for the North Midland division attributes this either wholly or in part to the rapid development of machine mining; whether the number of accidents is increasing inspite of the decline in the number of men employed; whether he is satisfied that the mines regulations are properly carried out in Nottinghamshire; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be held into the working conditions in this coalfield?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Ernest Brown)

The report of the divisional inspector deals with accidents from falls of ground in the North Mid land division as a whole. In this division a high accident rate from falls of ground has persisted for several years. The as sociated problems, which are numerous and difficult, have been studied by His Majesty's Inspectors and by a research committee in as sociation with the Safety in Mines Research Board, and reports on these studies have been published. As one means of attempting to effect a reduction, the matter of improved sup port has been taken up by the inspectors at collieries where the accident rate is above the average, and this work will be strengthened by the appointment shortly of an additional inspector to the division. In these circumstances, I do not consider it necessarytoinstitute a further special inquiry. I am satisfied that the high accident rate from falls is not the result of failure to observe the statutory re quirements on the subject.


Is the Minister aware that there are complaints that the men do not get sufficient supports to hold the roof with the advance of the face?


The re are a number of problems, and, as the hon. Gentleman will see from the answer, I have taken action in the matter.


Can the hon. Gentleman tell me the proportion that the amount spent on research into falls of ground bears to the total amount spent on safety research?


Certainly, if my hon. Friend will put a question down.

41. Mr. COCKS

asked the Secretary Notts for Mines whether his attention has been called to the unsatisfactory relations existing between the management and the men in the Nottinghamshire coalfield owing to the refusal of many mineowners to recognise the men's union; and whether, in view of the numerous com- plaints that miners have been prevented from carrying out the men's inspections under the Coal Mines Act by being threatened with dismissal, and of the heavy and increasing accident rate in this coalfield, he will take action in the matter.


The answer to the first part of the question is "No." with re gard to the second part, I have not received any complaints of the nature suggested. If the hon. Member has any specific cases in mind, I shall be glad if he will communicate with me.

Mr. C 0 C KS

Is it not significant that the whole of the increase in accidents comes from Nottinghamshire, where the men's union is not recognised, whereas in Derbyshire, where it is recognised, there is a substantial decrease in accidents 7.


The hon. Member will be unwise to draw that conclusion.Heknows that in this country there has been a minor revolution in the methods of working during the last five years.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in some of these collieries complaints are made that they are not given an opportunity of carrying out Section 16 of the Act?


If that be so, I should like to have information.


But the hon. Member knows that this matter has been brought to his attention from time to time.


The answer to the hon. Member is that every point discovered by the inspector is at once investigated.


Is it not a fact that the relations between owners and men in Nottinghamshire are more amicable than in many other counties?


Is not the amount of tyranny exercised in those pits such that men are afraid to make any complaints 7.