HC Deb 28 May 1936 vol 312 cc2198-9
86. Mr. R. J. TAYLOR

asked the Secretary for Mines whether his attention has been drawn to the statement of His Majesty's inspector of mines, at the annual meeting of the associates and students section of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineering, in Newcastle on Monday last, that accident rates for boys in mines in Northumberland and Durham are much higher than the rate for boys throughout the country as a whole; and what action does he propose to take with a view of dealing with this condition?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Captain Crookshank)

I am aware that the accident rate for boys in coal mines in Northumberland and Durham is higher than that for the country as a whole. A description of the measures which have been taken progressively by the introduction of safety classes and in other ways, to bring about a decrease in this rate, was given at the meeting referred to and will be found also in the report for the Northern Inspection Division for the year 1935, shortly to be published, and in the reports for previous years. It is hoped that these measures which are still being developed, and the gradual replacement of tub and pony haulage by conveyors and mechanical haulage will bring about a substantial reduction in the accident rate for boys.


Is the Secretary for Mines aware that under the 1911 Act boys between 14 and 16 are not employed between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., and does it not follow that if the same regulation was made applicable in all cases to prevent boys working between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., it would have a great effect in reducing accidents?


I hesitate to make a definite statement about that for the reason that the whole question of safety in mines is now under consideration by a Royal Commission, but everybody is only too aware how numerous these accidents are and want to do everything to try to prevent them.


Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman make inquiry as to how far the pernicious piecework system is responsible for the accident rate?


Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say how many of these accidents happened on the night shift?


I will see if that information is available, certainly.